Sunday, August 03, 2014

Interest keeps adding onto price of Lawrence County Airpark (KHTW), Chesapeake, Ohio

So far the county owes $490,000 for land it got in a recent eminent domain lawsuit. Now add on to that another $9,011.10 in interest from a penalty levied by the courts in June and you have the actual price tag for less than five acres at the Lawrence County Airpark in Chesapeake. That is as of July 28.

Since the money has yet to be paid, that 8 percent per year penalty keeps making the cost for the land more and more as it is accrued daily. In fact, the interest would be slightly higher because this amortization is based on a payment being made on the principal each month, which is not happening.

The penalty was placed because the county had yet to pay the judgment. The owners of the land wanted their money now and went to the courts asking for 10 percent in interest penalty. The courts made it 8 percent, retroactive to April 28, when the judgment went into effect.

The county had sought the acreage to cut down trees at either end of the runway to satisfy the Federal Aviation Administration, filing an eminent domain lawsuit against Richard Wilson and his family who owned the property.

This fall lawyers negotiated the nearly half-million dollars price, of which the county anticipates money from the FAA to cover 90 percent of it.

Each year the FAA offers the county $150,000 in grant money to be used for improvements at the airpark. To get that money, the county must come up with a 10 percent match. That means to pay the Wilsons the county will have to pay at least $49,000 on its own.

This week the county commissioners approved the proposal by the county’s airport advisory board for the local pilots association to assess each individual leasing a hangar at the airpark $25 per month.

According to Bill Nenni of the board, that should bring in approximately $19,000 a year.

“The assessment is necessary to keep us afloat,” Nenni told the commission. “The pilots association and the advisory board both signed off on it. We need this money to keep from running into cash flow problems.”

In a July interview, Nenni said the assessment could go toward the airpark paying the 10 percent match.

“We hope to be able to do it on our own,” he said. “I think we will be able to do it on our own.”

The assessment could also go toward the cost of clearing the trees at the runway and a lighting project at the airport.

However at Thursday’s commissioners’ meeting commissioner Bill Pratt questioned if the assessment were high enough.

“That might not be enough if it only generates $19,000,” Pratt said. “We have a $40,000 match and they will feel it is all they have to give.”

Nenni countered that reimbursements from the FAA for attorney fees for the lawsuit and design work would go toward the match.

Last week Nenni met with officials from the Detroit office of the FAA who came to look at the condition of the airpark, saying the runways needed to be repaved. They could not tell Nenni when the FAA would provide their share of cost of the acreage.

“They don’t know,” Nenni said. “The grant application has passed them. They are finished with it. They sent it on to Washington. They seem to think Sept. 30 will be the drop dead date to have to be done with it. Maybe something will come together mid September. It could be tomorrow. The Detroit office doesn’t know what the timeframe is.”

Until that money comes in, the interest continues to accrue. If it would take until Sept. 30, interest then would be $13,691.94. The question is, who is going to pay that?

“In the end the pilots association will be responsible for that,” Pratt said. “We have an agreement they will be self-sufficient. The county won’t absorb any cost of the airport.”

Also before the county can get an FAA grant, it first has to come up with the 10 percent match.

A possible way to stop the interest adding up would be for the county to borrow the $490,000, then pay off the loan when the FAA funds become available. Through the county treasurer’s Neighborhood Investment Program, a bond could be issued with a range of interest rates from 3/4 of a percent to 2 1/2 percent.

But that is a scenario Pratt rejects.

“I would never do that, borrow on the word and a handshake from the FAA,” he said. “I don’t have enough confidence in the FAA that they will make good on their commitment to pay that money out. If the FAA doesn’t come across, we would be out $500,000. We made that agreement in court.”

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Rival to 787 swoops in: Airbus and Boeing are going head to head in the lucrative market for long-haul jets

The latest Airbus has been frozen, subjected to super-hot temperatures, had its brakes jammed on until they reached 1400C and its wings bent to breaking point.

Now the new entry in the fierce battle between Airbus and Boeing - the Airbus A350XWB - is heading for Auckland from Sydney late tomorrow on a route-proving tour before being delivered to its first customer.

Its round-the-world flight gives Airbus the chance to check the performance before certification and to show it off to potential customers who are being spoiled for choice with new Airbus and Boeing's Dreamliner models in production or about to be launched.

The A350 can seat between 270 and 350 passengers and will compete against the Dreamliner and new versions of the Boeing 777. All are twin aisle, widebody planes competing in a cut-throat market in which airlines can play off the plane-makers against each other.

Of airlines serving New Zealand, Cathay Pacific has signed for the A350XWB (which stands for extra wide body), expects to start getting the planes in 2016 and the Hong Kong-Auckland route will be among the first on which it is used.

Air New Zealand - whose 10 Dreamliners are arriving - says the largest version of the A350 will be a candidate for evaluation later this decade as it looks to refresh its Boeing 777 fleet.

Singapore Airlines also has A350s on order.

Just like the Dreamliner, the A350 promises a big reduction in fuel burn through lightweight construction using carbon fibre and more efficient engines and added passenger comfort in its three different size models of the plane which is estimated to have cost the European aerospace conglomerate close to $17 billion to develop over eight years.

But, just like the Dreamliner, the new Airbus has been hit with delays, although not as severe as those that plagued Boeing.

Airbus has learned from Boeing's trouble. When the Dreamliner started having problems with its lithium-ion batteries Airbus reverted to more traditional powercell units.

While Airbus says there were 742 orders from 38 customers worldwide for the A350 at the end of June, the program suffered a setback that month when Emirates scrapped a deal for 70 of the planes valued at around $18 billion. This month Hawaiian Airlines switched from the smallest version A350 to a new generation of the Airbus A330, the A330neo.

The A350 has been put through a battery of tests, including stalls and an aborted take-off at full speed and during the "maximum energy event" the brakes of the plane glowed red hot.

It has undergone extreme weather tests at a United States Air Force base in Florida during which it was subjected to temperatures up to a high of 45C and to lows of -40C.

So far the five-strong A350 test fleet has accumulated more than 540 flights and clocked up 2250 hours. The Auckland-bound plane is due to arrive about 7pm. It will be on the ground on Wednesday before flying on to Santiago in Chile.

Airbus is due to deliver the first A350 to Qatar Airways this year.

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Old Forge, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania: Pilot Jeff Luizza makes daylong trip to save puppies

Idalo Masi unloads the puppies from the plane 

Jeff Luiza gets licked by one of the puppies he rescued from South Carolina.

 Granola bars and sandwiches. Check.

Fleece blankets with black Labrador prints. Check.

About a dozen crates to fill with puppies from a high-kill South Carolina animal shelter. Check.

Jeff Luizza placed an iPad between him and his trusted co-pilot, Idola Masi, in the cockpit of the eight-passenger airplane. Its screen displayed the day’s route: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, Pittston Twp., to Florence, South Carolina.

The Old Forge men checked their plane’s dials, firing up the twin engines one by one. Mr. Luizza gave a quick thumbs-up and the plane rolled toward the runway, gathering speed as wind rushed around its wings.

With a couple of bumps and a little bit of ear-popping turbulence, the pilots had the plane airborne by 9 a.m. on Saturday.

The day’s mission: save 29 puppies and bring them back to Northeast Pennsylvania.

They arrived in Florence, South Carolina, just in time for Denise Flowers to pull up with an SUV full of rescued puppies — tiny, squealing yellow Labradors, a litter of black Labradors and beagle puppies who haven’t quite grown into their flopping ears and large paws. Most came from the Williamsburg County Animal Shelter in Kingstree, South Carolina.

Every one of the dogs would be dead if not for the mission.

Instead, the pups dozed in crates spread throughout Mr. Luizza’s King Air Twin Turboprop, many of them on their way to meet eager families from Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Mountaintop and elsewhere.

Twelve of the puppies on Saturday’s flight were transported to the Northeast PA Pet Fund and Rescue in Scranton. The rest had been placed with adoptive families.

Mr. Luizza, with the help of his wife, Melissa Sanders-Luizza, has flown his personal plane around the country for years, rescuing nearly 1,500 dogs and placing them in homes or rescues throughout Northeast Pennsylvania and near Daytona, Florida, where the Luizzas live 6 months out of the year.

“I love to fly and I love the animals,” Mr. Luizza said.

Frequent flier

Mr. Luizza has been fascinated by flying since age eight when his mother gave him a multi-band radio that picked up signals from the Avoca air traffic controllers.

By age 16, Mr. Luizza earned his pilot’s license and later bought his first plane, a Cessna Skyhawk.

“I bought her from a car dealer in Hazleton,” Mr. Luizza said. “The radios in it were so old they had tubes.”

Mr. Luizza, former owner of Penn Warranty, has since owned 60 planes in his lifetime. Now retired, he spends most of his time placing dogs with families and planning “missions” to pick them up, wherever they may be.

Ms. Sanders-Luizza supports the missions from home base, whether they’re staying in Old Forge or Daytona. She waits with a group of “helpers” to bathe the dogs when they arrive, cleaning and pampering them before their owners come to fetch them.

“All they want is love,” Ms. Sanders-Luizza said. “I didn’t used to like dogs — I got bit when I was little. Now I couldn’t live without them.”

The dogs’ new owners chatted on Facebook in the week leading up to Saturday’s flight, expressing their excitement to meet the newest members of their families. 

“You wouldn’t believe the amount of work that goes into it,” he said.

Mr. Luizza keeps in constant contact with people like Ms. Flowers who can retrieve dogs from the shelters and screen them for any common illnesses that might infect other puppies during a flight.

Once a group of at least 20 are cleared for adoption, Mr. Luizza posts pictures of the dogs to his Facebook page. He requires a veterinarian’s reference and a letter from the landlord of any potential adopter.

Then Mr. Luizza plans a flight, something he’s done enough times to have “down to a science,” he said.

“We leave with a bunch of empty crates, transfer the dogs, fuel up and come back,” he said.

Mr. Masi, a flight instructor and mechanic at the local airport-based Aviation Technologies, flies as Mr. Luizza’s copilot for every dog mission out of Northeast Pennsylvania.

Dog is their copilot

The pilots met little turbulence on the way to South Carolina, skimming between two layers of tame, white clouds.

Mr. Luizza showed Mr. Masi photos of the puppies on his iPad during the flight. They traded tales of past flights above the thrum of the engines and the chatter of air traffic controllers over the radio.

After 2½ hours, they descended onto the runway of Florence Regional Airport, where Ms. Flowers greeted them.

“I put 60 (puppies) on his plane one time,” Ms. Flowers said. “It’s all for those puppies.”

Ms. Flowers credits country singer Willie Nelson for getting her into the animal rescue game. She used to rescue horses at her farm.

“My farm was a sister farm to his,” she said. “The dogs just kind of fell into place.”

Mr. Luizza usually transports puppies small enough to fit in an airline crate. He has transported breeds like Labrador mixes, beagles, young shepherds, Catahoola leopard dogs and various hound mixes.

Sometimes larger dogs make the flights, too. Mr. Luizza said he once picked up a 180-pound St. Bernard — and that was underweight.

The 29 puppies on Saturday’s flight rested in their crates, either sound asleep or quietly content, even during a band of stormy weather that buffeted the plane back and forth, jostling the passengers inside. It wasn’t until the plane came within 20 minutes of landing that they started to stir.

A black Lab puppy tussled with the others in his crate, squeaking out his best attempt at a playful bark. One of the yellow Labs gave a high-pitched howl from the back of the plane while dogs nearby perked up, searching for the source of the sound.

Mr. Luizza and Mr. Masi kept the plane steady as it approached the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport runway around 5 p.m. The dogs yipped and pawed at the inside of their plastic crates as the plane descended and made a smooth landing on the tarmac.

As the two pilots loaded the puppies into a pickup truck, Mr. Luizza had a message for the new dog owners before leaving the airport.

“Hi, your new kids are here!”

US sanctions prevent Russian tycoon from using his jet- Itar-Tass

Aug 3 (Reuters) - A businessman and associate of Vladimir Putin said he cannot use his luxury jet because of U.S. sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine, a Russian news agency reported.

Gennady Timchenko, a major shareholder in Russia's No.2 gas producer Novatek, told Itar-Tass that Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. had withdrawn technical support for his jet.

His comments indicated that the G650 jet, which Itar-Tass said was worth $64.5 million, had been grounded in Moscow.

"Sanctions are coming out in the quaintest of ways," Timchenko said in the interview with Itar-Tass. "The company Gulfstream has stopped fulfilling its contract obligations by suspending my jet flights."

Timchenko was included on a U.S. list of individuals subject to asset freezes and visa bans after Russia's annexation of Crimea in March.

"Gulfstream is prohibited from having any contacts with me. They cannot discuss either future supplies of already ordered jets or the operation of this one," the businessman said.

Gulfstream, which is owned by General Dynamics and based in Savannah, in the U.S. state of Georgia, did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment on Sunday.

Itar-Tass quoted Gulfstream as saying it was not aware of any problems with its technical support service for jets in Russia.

Timchenko is one of Russia's richest businessman and has been quoted as saying he has known Putin since at least 1990 but denies that the president has helped him in his career.

Timchenko sold his 43 percent stake in global commodities trader Gunvor Group to chief executive Torbjorn Tornqvist on March 19, just before he was hit by sanctions.

The United States and European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia because they accuse Moscow of arming pro-Russian separatists who have risen up in eastern Ukraine. They want Putin to do more to end the conflict. Russia denies the accusations and says the West is trying to reduce its global influence.

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American Airlines: Disruptive passenger diverts plane to Nashville International Airport (KBNA), Tennessee

Nashville, TN - A disruptive and violent passenger diverts a plane to Nashville International Airport.

According to police, Mary Lentz, 55, of New Mexico, ran towards the planes cockpit and punched a flight attendant in the stomach.

The pilot landed the plane just before 10 PM Saturday. Three Metro police officers escorted Lentz off the plane.

Lentz allegedly kicked the officers during her arrest. She now faces disruptive behavior and multiple assault charges.

Lentz is being held on a $30,000 bond.

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -  An American Airlines plane flying from Dallas to Boston was diverted to Nashville on Saturday night after a passenger became disruptive and non-compliant. 

Flight 2214 landed in Nashville just after 9 p.m. with 145 passengers and five crew members on board.

According to American Airlines spokesman Kent Powell, local authorities removed an unruly woman from the aircraft.

Powell would not elaborate on the nature of the disturbance.  It was not immediately clear if the woman would face any criminal charges.

Powell says the aircraft, a Boeing 737, arrived in Boston just after 3 a.m. Sunday.

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Second plane carrying Ebola patient to land in Bangor

Bangor's airport administration was originally alerted Friday afternoon that the plane would be stopping in Bangor Saturday morning to refuel and for a federal inspection. Maine is the closest state to Africa and is often a stopping point for international flights. After getting word, the airport director alerted Bangor city officials, like the city manager and city council. The Bangor airport director didn't alert the public or Bangor Public Health Director Patty Hamilton. Hamilton said it's not a public health concern in Bangor. 

 Health officials have said this is the worst outbreak of the virus in history. It has killed more than 880 people since the outbreak began in March and has infected more than 1000 people. Ebola kills anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of patients, depending on the strain and access to health care. Symptoms include high fever, vomiting and diarrhea and the virus spread through bodily fluids.

The Peace Corps evacuated all volunteers in African countries where the outbreak is occurring. The CDC has issued a travel warning for Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, advising  to avoid all nonessential travel.


A U.S. doctor infected with Ebola arrived stateside Saturday, transported via a Phoenix Air flight from Africa to Dobbins Air Reserve Base.

The dark gray Gulfstream jet landed around midday at the Marietta location where the doctor was escorted to a waiting ambulance and transferred to Emory University Hospital. At 4 p.m. Saturday, a jet matching photographs from the earlier landing was undergoing service at the midfield maintenance hangar of Phoenix Air Group Inc.’s Cartersville location.

A Phoenix Air representative declined to comment Saturday outside the business’s flight school facility at Cartersville Airport. Questions regarding the business were referred to Phoenix Air officials, and those related to the trip to Liberia to transfer two Americans infected with Ebola were directed to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who will arrive in several days, will be treated in Emory’s isolation unit for infectious diseases, created 12 years ago handle doctors who get sick at the CDC, just up the hill. It is one of about four in the country, equipped with everything necessary to test and treat people exposed to very dangerous viruses.

Fear that the outbreak killing more than 700 people in Africa could spread in the U.S. has generated considerable anxiety among some Americans. But infectious disease experts said the public faces zero risk as Emory treats the critically ill missionary doctor and charity worker.

The CDC has received “nasty emails” and at least 100 calls from people saying “How dare you bring Ebola into the country!?” CDC Director Tom Frieden told The Associated Press Saturday.

“I hope that our understandable fear of the unfamiliar does not trump our compassion when ill Americans return to the U.S. for care,” Frieden said.

In 2005, it handled patients with SARS, which unlike Ebola can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

In fact, the nature of Ebola — which is spread by close contact with bodily fluids and blood — means that any modern hospital using standard, rigorous, infection-control measures should be able to handle it.

Still, Emory won’t be taking any chances.

“Nothing comes out of this unit until it is non-infectious,” said Dr. Bruce Ribner, who will be treating the patients. “The bottom line is: We have an inordinate amount of safety associated with the care of this patient. And we do not believe that any health care worker, any other patient or any visitor to our facility is in any way at risk of acquiring this infection.”

Brantly arrived at Dobbins in the Phoenix Air plane, which is equipped to contain infectious diseases, and a small police escort followed his ambulance to the hospital. He climbed out dressed head to toe in white protective clothing, and another person in an identical hazardous materials suit held both of his gloved hands as they walked gingerly inside.

“It was a relief to welcome Kent home today. I spoke with him, and he is glad to be back in the U.S.,” said his wife, Amber Brantly, who left Africa with their two young children for a wedding in the U.S. days before the doctor fell ill.

“I am thankful to God for his safe transport and for giving him the strength to walk into the hospital,” her statement said.

Inside the unit, patients are sealed off from anyone who doesn’t wear protective gear.

“Negative air pressure” means air flows in, but can’t escape until filters scrub any germs from patients. All laboratory testing is conducted within the unit, and workers are highly trained in infection control. Glass walls enable staff outside to safely observe patients, and there’s a vestibule where workers suit up before entering. Any gear is safely disposed of or decontaminated.

Family members will be kept outside for now.

The unit “has a plate glass window and communication system, so they’ll be as close as 1-2 inches from each other,” Ribner said.

Dr. Jay Varkey, an infectious disease specialist who will be treating Brantly and Writebol, gave no word Saturday about their condition. Both were described as critically ill after treating Ebola patients at a missionary hospital in Liberia, one of four West African countries hit by the largest outbreak of the virus in history.

There is no proven cure for the virus. It kills an estimated 60 percent to 80 percent of the people it infects, but American doctors in Africa say the mortality rate would be much lower in a functioning health care system.

The virus causes hemorrhagic fever, headaches and weakness that can escalate to vomiting, diarrhea and kidney and liver problems. Some patients bleed internally and externally.

There are experimental treatments, but Brantly had only enough for one person, and insisted that his colleague receive it. His best hope in Africa was the transfusion of blood he received including antibodies from one of his patients, a 14-year-old boy who survived thanks to the doctor.

There was also only room on the plane for one patient at a time. Writebol will follow in several days.

Dr. Philip Brachman, an Emory public health specialist who led the CDC’s disease detectives program for many years, said Friday that since there is no cure, medical workers will try any modern therapy that can be done, such as better monitoring of fluids, electrolytes and vital signs.

“We depend on the body’s defenses to control the virus,” Ribner said. “We just have to keep the patient alive long enough in order for the body to control this infection.”

Just down the street from the hospital, people dined, shopped and carried on with their lives Saturday. Several interviewed by the AP said the patients are coming to the right place.

“We’ve got the best facilities in the world to deal with this stuff,” said Kevin Whalen, who lives in Decatur, and has no connection to Emory or the CDC. “With the resources we can throw at it, it’s the best chance this guy has for survival. And it’s probably also the best chance to develop treatments and cures and stuff that we can take back overseas so that it doesn’t come back here.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: The Daily Tribune News - Phoenix Air plane returns after transporting Ebola patient

Marshfield Municipal Airport (KGHG) project helps Daniel Webster Sanctuary grow to 600 acres -Land deal benefits residents, animals

Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary is home to another 100 acres of protected land now that a deal roughly 12 years in the making has finally come to a close.

The transfer of coastal marshland, possible due to the Federal Aviation Administration-required improvement project at the adjacent Marshfield Airport, grows the sanctuary to almost 600 acres, according to South Shore Sanctuaries Director Sue MacCallum.

“It started out as a thought or a dream or a hope,” she said. “It took a long time to come to fruition because it involved the FAA, the town and other agencies, federal and state.”

The protected area includes uplands, forest, ponds, broad fields and the newly supplemented marshlands supported by the tidal Green Harbor River, MacCallum said.

Adding to the protected land is critical for the various animal and plant species that live there, including the vulnerable Eastern box turtle as well as herrings, deer, osprey and crabs, she said.

Preserving marshland also has mitigation benefits for local residents, MacCallum said.

“The marshes have value as a habitat and acts as a sponge when there’s flooding,” she said.

MacCallum has been working on this project since before taking over as director eight years ago. She said it was important to preserve the land now so it could not be lost to development later.

“It’s great to see it all come together,” she said. “It’s been a long haul.”

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Egypt's Air Sinai resumes flights to Tel Aviv

Egypt's Air Sinai on Sunday resumed direct flights from Cairo to Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport after they were suspended for about 10 days, a source familiar with the matter told Ahram Online.

According to the source, the Egyptian carrier's flight no. 54 took off at 10am local time from Cairo International Airport.

Air Sinai had suspended its flights to Tel Aviv for security concerns, as had the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

However, EASA and FAA rescinded their ban on flights to Ben Gurion on 24 July after receiving security assurance from Israel's Civil Aviation Authority.

Air Sinai is a subsidiary of EgyptAir – Egypt's flagship carrier – but is not listed on the airline's website. The only way to buy a ticket is to visit their office in Cairo's Shubra district.

Meanwhile, Israeli aggression continues against Gaza, with the Palestinian death toll rising to 1,600, most of whom are civilians.

On the Israeli side, more than 66 people have been killed, 62 of them soldiers.  

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