Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My War with the local Newspaper: Statesman-Journal

My ongoing war with the Statesman Journal newspaper, our local fish wrap, has reached new highs (no pun intended).
Today's paper featured an article stating, in big bold letters: "HELICOPTERS A HEADACHE FOR FAIR NEIGHBORS".
In the article, which by the way was done by a young lady who showed up the day before to ask questions about what "our helicopters" were doing and how it was doing. She was bent due to my blasting an article in the paper that day.
I KNEW that she would come back with some kind of story that's how they work.
I quote the story below and then give my rebuttal:

It's hard to miss one of the new attractions at the fair. Helicopter rides — $20 for about five minutes — are part of the sesquicentennial celebrations going on at this year's Oregon State Fair, to the delight of fairgoers and the dismay of fairgrounds neighbors.

Galit Miller, a school administrator for Leading Edge Aviation, estimated that the company has been running about 80 flights per day.

Alan Scott, the chairman of the Northeast Neighbors neighborhood association, said he has received about five complaints, mostly regarding the noise the copter makes during takeoff and landing.

"Our concern is how do we prevent this noise in the future?" Scott said. He said he's been in contact with two other neighborhood associations that also have received complaints.

He said neighbors weren't given enough advance warning about the helicopter rides, finding out only about one week before the fair.

"What we'd like to be able to do is sit down and discuss options," Scott said. "We're not sure why they come over the neighborhoods to land and not over the fair."

Connie Bradley, the acting manager of the fair, said she's taken note of the complaints and already is making changes.

"This week, we are only going to run the small helicopter during the week," she said, adding that during the weekend, they also were using a larger, louder helicopter.

She said they will also stop flights at 6 p.m. for weekdays and change the flight patterns so they're not always flying over the same houses.

And, she said, fair neighbors just have to make it through this fair — the helicopters won't be a yearly attraction.

"This is just kind of a one-time deal," she said. "We're not doing this every year. … It was part of our big birthday celebration."

Although she said she had met with all the neighborhood associations in July to let them know about the helicopters, she conceded it could get old quickly.

"I'd probably be annoyed after a little while, too," she said, as a helicopter shadow crossed the parking lot outside her office.

A city noise ordinance does not apply to the helicopters, said Brady Rogers, administrator of Salem's neighborhood enhancement division.

"Flying in your plane is just like driving down the street in your car," Rogers said. "You have a right to do it."

Rogers said the fair worked with the Federal Aviation Administration to allow the copters to land on the fairgrounds. Officials with the FAA could not be reached Monday.

kwbrown@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6743 or sbarchenge@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6610

Ok so first of all: the fair director never said what was quoted (I talked to her personally today). Second, there are over 1,000 people who have had a WONDERFUL time riding a helicopter and only FIVE neighbors have complained? These are the same pathetic people that cost us the horse racing (too loud) great late night concerts (too loud) and the same people who do all of this complaining living next door to an institution that has existed in the same location for about 100 years?
Give me a break.
So far the comments on their website have been about 99% positive towards our helicopters.
I talked with a 103 year old man who just took a ride and he was so thrilled, I wish you could have seen him.
In this economy, SOMEONE, ANYONE has found a way to profit and at the same time give a thrill of a lifetime for $20! How can anyone knock that?

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