Noise News for Week of May 24, 1998

Florida County Commission Passes Land Regulations that Restrict the Size of Some Community Facilities in Residential Areas

PUBLICATION: The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, FL)
DATE: May 30, 1998
SECTION: Community News; Pg. 1
BYLINE: Beth Reese Cravey
DATELINE: Green Cove Springs, Florida

The Florida Times-Union reports that the Clay County Commission in Green Cove Springs, Florida passed a package of land development regulations Tuesday that restricts larger churches, child-care centers, and other community facilities in residential areas. The regulations were passed to preserve established residential areas from development that could increase traffic and noise, the article says. The regulation changes stemmed partly from residents' opposition to proposed day-care centers adjacent to residential areas on U.S. 17 south of Orange Park.

The article explains that the regulations allow small churches, with 3,500 square feet or less, to be built on local, neighborhood roads. Larger churches, and those that offer child care, education, and recreational facilities, can't be built on neighborhood roads, under the regulations. In addition, day-care centers, preschools, and seminaries aren't allowed on local roads. According to the county commissioners, such developments should be built on minor collector roads such as Pine Avenue on Fleming Island, or major collector roads such as County Road 220. Patrick McGovern, the commission chair, said, "We need all these facilities, but it has to make sense. We don't want a church with 5,000 cars on a two-lane road." Commissioner Charles "Buddy" Griffin was the only commissioner who voted against the package of regulations, the article says. Griffin said he wanted to wait until state review of a related Comprehensive Plan amendment was completed. However, other commissioners believed there was no reason to further delay permit cases that were pending while the commission considered the regulation changes.

According to the article, some citizens groups said they supported the commission's decision. Don Bowles, of the North Green Cove Springs Civic Association, said, "We are not opposed to churches and schools. We support growth ... but we have fought to remain residential." Stewart Harris, an attorney representing Westover Road homeowners fighting one of the proposed day-care centers, said day-care centers and other similar facilities shouldn't be allowed in residential areas at all, not even on minor collector roads. He said day-care centers shouldn't be treated differently from other commercial establishments.

The article reports that after the commissioners adopted the regulation changes, they went on to approve two of the four pending private service rezoning requests -- one for a proposed day-care center on U.S. 17 at Ebb Tide Road on Fleming Island, and one for a golf practice facility on U.S. 17 south of Green Cove Springs.

A decision on the other proposed day-care center, on U.S. 17 at Westover Road, was postponed at the request of the applicant. Harris, the attorney representing residents, objected to the postponement because he had just presented his entire case to the commission. Harris had argued that the project was commercial encroachment into a residential area, and it would create traffic hazards, increase noise, and reduce property values. Meanwhile, Frank Miller, the attorney for applicant Carl Stoudemire, said his client needed time to review his options in light of the commission's earlier regulation changes. The changes will force the applicant to create access to the daycare center on U.S. 17, rather than Westover Road, the article notes. When Miller was asked why he requested a delay after Harris made his case, rather than before, said his timing was unfortunate and he and his client couldn't digest and evaluate the regulation changes quickly. But Commissioner Griffin said he was "afraid this might be a tactic," rather than a genuine need for more time. But, the article reports, all commissioners except Griffin voted to grant the delay.

The article says that the fourth pending private services rezoning was for an elderly housing development on U.S. 17 on Fleming Island. A decision on that project was postponed until the commission's June 23 meeting at the request of the applicant before Tuesday's meeting.

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City in Kansas Considers Setting Curfew on Home Car Repairs

PUBLICATION: The Kansas City Star
DATE: May 30, 1998
SECTION: Zone/Shawnee Mission; Pg. 5
BYLINE: Dawn Bormann
DATELINE: Overland Park, Kansas

The Kansas City Star reports that City Councilors in Overland Park, Kansas will discuss implementing a curfew that would end home-based auto repairs at its Monday meeting. The proposed ordinance is intended to curb the noise, light, and fumes that come from late-night auto repairs.

According to the article, the proposed ordinance would restrict driveway car repairs to the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The ordinance would not cover auto work completed inside a garage or closed structure.

The article says that the Overland Park Community Development Committee voted 3-2 in April to approve both the proposed ordinance and another ordinance that would shift the burden of proof to people who are illegally compensated for home auto work. At Monday's meeting, the issues will be voted on separately, unlike at the committee level.

According to the article, John Rod, the city planner, said in April that the proposed ordinance typically would be enforced after neighbors register complaints. He said there have been complaints about the noise and light levels from nighttime auto work, but that lengthy investigations were necessary to prosecute those violators. Rod said, "We were trying to come up with some solutions to some enforcement problems that we had."

The article reports that City Councilors Carl Gerlach and Neil Sader voted against the issues at the committee level, saying they didn't believe it was appropriate to restrict auto repair hours. Gerlach said Thursday, "I've got a problem with setting strict hours. Property owners have a right to do things for themself on that property. I hate to get too restrictive with what people can do on their actual property." Meanwhile, Councilor Jack Halligan voted in favor of the ordinance in the committee, saying the auto work creates a neighborhood nuisance. He said, "My guess is that we're talking about houses that are 20 to 30 feet away where neighbors are constantly being assaulted by the light, the noise, and probably the fumes."

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Florida City Starts Ticketing Motorists With Loud Car Stereos After Court Ruling

PUBLICATION: The Palm Beach Post
DATE: May 30, 1998
SECTION: Local, Pg. 3B
BYLINE: Teresa Lane
DATELINE: Port St. Lucie, Florida

The Palm Beach Post reports that police in Port St. Lucie, Florida have started to issue tickets to motorists with loud car stereos, after an appeals court ruling upheld a state noise law earlier this month. The article says that police can issue tickets if car stereos can be heard more than 100 feet away.

According to the article, Police Commander Chuck Johnson said police get complaints about booming car stereos every day, but police have been unwilling to write the $43 tickets until the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee validated the law earlier this month. Police issued their first citation this weekend, the article says, when Melvin Frazier was asked by police to leave a parking lot by police and subsequently turned his stereo up. Sergeant Rick Schichtel said the stereo's level was "beyond a nuisance level." Johnson said, "You're entitled to listen to whatever music you want, but you can't choose just any decibel level. We're not going to tolerate loud music any more."

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California City Attorney Says Grading and Excavation Project is Legal; Residents Disagree

PUBLICATION: The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA)
DATE: May 30, 1998
SECTION: Local; Pg. B01
BYLINE: Michael McBride
DATELINE: Norco, California

The Press-Enterprise reports that John Harper, the city attorney in Norco, California delivered a written opinion to city officials and residents Friday that says the city permit for grading and excavation work on Beacon Hill off Norconian Drive is legal. At Friday's meeting, residents said they didn't agree with Harper's opinion and would consult their own lawyer. The article notes that residents have complained about the truck traffic, noise, and dust associated with the project that has been going on for almost three years. The city council will take up the topic of residents' complaints at Wednesday's city council meeting, the article says.

According to the article, residents first met with city officials in May, at which time former Norco City Manager Simon Melendez said the site had become an illegal commercial rock quarry, and should be shut down immediately. The current City Manager, Jerry Johnson, said Friday that he had served the developer of the project with a notice of four specific violations of the grading permit. The notice stipulated that work must not begin before 7 a.m., that the site must be watered regularly and sufficiently to keep dust down, that trucks leaving the site must be covered with tarpaulins, and that adjacent streets must be cleaned daily of all dirt and debris caused by the operation. Johnson went on to say that if violations reoccurred, he would issue a stop work order. Johnson pointed out that trucks hauling rock and gravel from the site have been re-routed and no longer use Norco Drive. In addition, Johnson said, he told the developer that the city will ask for a revised soils and geology report as a condition for extending the term of the grading permit, which expires July 18.

The article goes on to explain that according to Attorney Harper's opinion, the city cannot do much more to regulate the operation. Harper wrote that the city approved plans in 1979 and 1980 to build a restaurant and other buildings at the site, and those permits allowed for grading and removing material, which doesn't appear to violate Norco ordinances. Harper also wrote that the prior approvals "preclude the current City Council from doing anything other than requiring strict compliance with the city's grading ordinance...."

Meanwhile, the article says, a plan for building senior apartments, a hotel, and a restaurant on the site has been presented to the city's Economic Development Advisory Council and will be on the Planning Commission's agenda June 10. Under the plan, apartments would be built on the site of the grading/excavating operation, and the hotel and restaurant would be built on adjacent property fronting on Norco Drive. Roger Krause, the head of Norco Beacon Hill Development Co., said in May that the excavating and grading should be completed by the end of the year, and construction of the proposed project would then begin.

However, the article reports, residents suggested at Friday's meeting that the proposed project was only a ruse to continue selling the rock and gravel removed from the site. Resident Jeff Parker said, "All they keep doing is digging holes and hauling away dirt."

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Spokane Mayor Courts Native American Festival by Allowing Violation of City's Noise Ordinance

PUBLICATION: The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)
DATE: May 30, 1998
SECTION: Main News, Pg. A1
BYLINE: Craig Welch
DATELINE: Spokane, Washington

The Spokesman-Review reports that John Talbott, the Mayor of Spokane, Washington, met with organizers of the Spokane Falls Northwest Indian Encampment and Pow Wow Friday and made concessions to ensure that the event will be held as usual this August at Riverfront Park. The article notes that event organizers had announced earlier this week that the event wouldn't take place this year because the city and the American Indian Community Center, which sponsors the festival, couldn't come to agreement about certain fees and regulations. But the mayor made several concessions, the article says, including allowing the pow-wow to continue past 10 p.m., which violates the city's noise ordinance.

According to the article, John Guenther, the co-chair of the event, said city officials agreed to waive several fees, to allow the event to continue past 10 p.m., and to find a solution to a dispute over parking. But Mayor Talbott refused to say what concessions the city made.

The article goes on to say that Guenther said he and other organizers are now behind in their own planning for the event. Still, he said he's optimistic that things will work out.

The article notes that the event usually takes place on the last weekend in August and draws about 25,000 people, who are estimated to contribute $880,000 to Spokane's economy on that weekend, according to organizers.

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Scottish Council Turns Down Application for Off-Road Driving Center

PUBLICATION: Aberdeen Press and Journal
DATE: May 29, 1998
SECTION: Business: Companies, Pg.3
DATELINE: Aberdeenshire, Scotland

The Aberdeen Press and Journal reports that the council in Aberdeenshire, Scotland voted 5-3 to reject an application for planning permission for an off-road driving center in Deeside. The article says that the company Making Treks was asked earlier by the council to undertake an independent noise-pollution survey related to the proposed project. Company officials say they commissioned the survey, which concluded that there would be no noise pollution, but councilors ignored that information or were not given the results of the survey before voting. The company intends to appeal the decision, the article says.

According to the article, the company wanted to use 50 acres of woods at the Hill of Maryfield site, across the River Dee from Banchory, as a natural off-road driving center and archery facility. But, the article notes, there were nearly 60 letters of objection to the application by Making Treks. Neil Scott, a resident of the area, had operated an identical facility in the area without attracting complaints since the early 1990s, the article says. Beverley Tricker, a spokesperson for Making Treks, said, "For seven years that site was operated in exactly the same way we applied for, word for word, but without planning permission. We wanted to show our clients that we are a responsible company and do things by the book but now we have been prevented from doing so by this decision."

Tricker also said the company was requested by the council to undertake an independent sound report, but "no mention of that report was made at the committee meeting." But yesterday George Chree, the director of the council planning department, said noise assessment information was available in the report that the councilors had before them. He added that councilors would have been aware of that report before making their decision at the meeting.

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New York Policy Doesn't Fund Road Noise Barriers on Existing Roads, Unlike Minnesota and Ontario

PUBLICATION: The Buffalo News
DATE: May 29, 1998
SECTION: News, Pg. 11A
BYLINE: Kevin Collison
DATELINE: Buffalo, New York; Minnesota; Ontario, Canada

The Buffalo News reports that New York State Department of Transportation officials have said they don't budget money to build noise barriers along existing expressways. But, the article says, Minnesota and Ontario have funded noise barriers along existing expressways since the 1970s, according to officials.

The article reports that 20 miles of noise barriers have been built in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area by the Minnesota State Department of Transportation. According to Jim Hansen, a noise abatement and air quality supervisor for the Minnesota DOT, Minnesota's noise-barrier program for existing expressways was paid for by a one-cent gasoline tax in the late 1970s. After 1980, the program went dormant except for noise barriers on new roads. However, the article says, next year Minnesota will begin building an additional 1 1/2 miles of noise barriers per year along existing expressways. The article notes that Minnesota's noise walls generally cost about $1 million per mile to build. According to officials, communities are eligible for a noise barrier if a sound level of 65 decibels (about the level of a conversation) reaches into the neighborhood. Federal standards for noise barriers stipulate that noise must be 70 decibels in neighborhoods, the sound level of a vacuum cleaner. Hansen said that public hearings are held before barriers are built, and neighborhoods can choose to opt out of the program.

In Ontario, the article reports, 80 miles of noise barriers have been built, mostly in the Toronto area, over the past 21 years. According to Fred Leech, manager of the central region planning and environment office for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, a similar public review process applies there as in Minnesota. In addition, Leech said, Toronto combines its noise-barrier program with land-use planning. Ontario's policy stipulates that any neighborhood built along an expressway before 1977 that can demonstrate it meets certain criteria is eligible for a noise barrier depending on funding availability. About $3 million (Canadian) is spent annually on the noise barriers. Starting in 1977, the article notes, the province started requiring developers of subdivisions near roads to pay for noise barriers. Leech said, "Developers are making the money and they should be providing the barriers. If it's not economical, it's probably not the place for a subdivision."

In New York, the article goes on to say, state transportation officials said they don't budget money for noise barriers along existing expressways. But new roads or major reconstruction projects require environmental studies that may lead to noise barriers, the article explains. Meanwhile, the Thruway Authority has included $15 million in its six-year capital budget for a construction program in two downstate counties. Cynthia Munk, an Authority spokesperson, said this is the first time the Authority has allocated money, and no more retrofit projects will be considered for at least another four years.

The article notes that there was one exception to the rule that no existing expressways get noise barriers. Four miles of noise barriers were built along I-290 in Amherst in the late 1980s, because two state lawmakers (Assembly Member Robin Schimminger and former State Senator Walter Floss) got a special $6 million appropriation. The article reports that there are only three other stretches of sound barriers in the metro Buffalo area: a 3,200-foot earthen berm between I-290 and UB North Campus; a short stretch the Thruway Authority built as part of its Williamsville toll improvement project in 1990; and a 1,600-foot wall along I-990 built to shield an apartment complex.

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Noise and Safety Considerations for Ice Cream Trucks Are Issues for Some in Salt Lake City

PUBLICATION: The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT)
DATE: May 29, 1998
SECTION: Local; Pg. B02
BYLINE: Linda Thomson
DATELINE: Salt Lake City, Utah

The Deseret News reports that summer and ice cream season are approaching, but some in Salt Lake City, Utah are worried about noise and safety considerations. The article interviews two owners of ice cream truck companies about the issues.

According to the article, ice cream trucks are regulated only by varying local regulations, which range from minimal to strict. The food safety aspect of the trucks exists on a statewide level, the article says, but oversight has just switched from the Salt Lake City-County Board of Health to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, which has ice cream truck rules that are much more minimal than rules for other food industries.

The article goes on to say that Bobby Martin owns Mr. Frostee, which runs 73 trucks in three states, including 28 in Salt Lake City. Martin said he doesn't get many noise complaints. He said, "I have more complaints from people complaining because we don't go down their street." Martin added that he hires a firm to do background checks on drivers.

Don Gansen, who owns Dads Ice Cream Wagons that operates 30 trucks, said he tries to work with neighbors if he gets noise complaints. He said he asks drivers not to go down certain streets if he gets a complaint, and asks them to tell kids in that area that the truck will be stopping at another spot.

Gansen also discussed a number of safety issues, the article reports. He said he prefers that drivers get criminal background checks, even though most communities don't require it. "We have to know who is out there with our children," said Gansen. "We have to tighten up the reins and regulate this industry better and know who the children are talking to." Gansen also supports other safety rules, including electronic devices that swing out with a sign saying, "Caution children slow," backup beepers, four-way flashing lights on the roof, and convex mirrors in front so drivers can see if children are sitting down eating ice cream in front of the truck where it's shady. He added that his workers have to go through a safety test and watch a safety film. Gansen also believes drivers should drive from the right side of the vehicles, so that kids don't go out into the street to talk to the drivers.

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California Residents Win Noise Victory, as State Turns Down Banquet Hall's Liquor License Request

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: May 29, 1998
SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 3; Metro Desk
BYLINE: Bob Pool
DATELINE: Los Angeles, California
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Albert Reff, Deane De La Cruz, Nathan Krems, residents; Cary Reisman, attorney

The Los Angeles Times reports that residents of condominiums in Los Angeles's Marina del Rey won a decade-old fight on May 14 when the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control rejected a request for a liquor license for the Fantasea Yacht Club, which holds banquets at the site. On Thursday, the article notes, Fantasea backers filed papers to appeal the license denial, in a process that could continue for a year or longer.

The article explains that residents of the Marina City Club tower complained for years about noise from the Red Onion restaurant and disco that was located next to the tower until 1993. The Fantasea owners purchased the restaurant in 1996 and put more than $1 million into converting it for private events, the article explains. But more than 140 residents said that "late-night yelling, horn honking, and tire squealing" by Red Onion patrons kept them awake for years, and the banquet hall guests aren't much quieter. The operators of Fantasea, meanwhile, say they are being blamed by problems created by the previous tenant, and the residents are rich old fogies who should move if they can't take the area's hip feel.

But residents say the business is inappropriate near their homes. Albert Reff, who lives 15 stories above the Fantasea parking lot, said, "The Red Onion was hell. I had to abandon my front bedroom back then. The noise was intolerable." Reff said things were quieter after the Red Onion left, but when Fantasea started operating dinner cruises and events from the site, noise went up. "People are rowdy and noisy when they leave. People are yelling. Horns are honking. Doors slamming. Car alarms are going off. Parking valets are shouting." Nathan Krems, a resident who lives in a tower penthouse, said he doesn't blame partiers for wanting to say good-bye as they leave a party and are waiting for their cars. But, he says the location is not acceptable for such a noise operation to be based.

Meanwhile, the article says, Daniel Ginzburg, a co-owner of Fantasea, said, "This is a commercial area, not some secluded mountaintop residential area. A lot of the people who have protested were retired people who don't know what they're saying." Ginzburg said residents exaggerate, making untrue statements asserting that there will be a disco at the site again. The proprietor says that his events are quiet affairs. He has no license to sell liquor and has let attendees have free drinks or bring their own, but says he needed a license to get business from private parties. He's offered to stop selling alcohol at 11:30 during the week, 12:30 a.m. on weekends, and hire people to encourage patrons to be quiet at night. Residents say it's not enough, and want him to close by 10 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on weekends: something he says is ridiculous.

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Georgia County Commissioners Turn Down Request for Helicopter Pad in Residential Area

PUBLICATION: The Atlanta Journal
DATE: May 28, 1998
SECTION: South Fulton Extra; Pg. 11Jk
BYLINE: Wayne Snow
DATELINE: Coweta County, Georgia

The Atlanta Journal reports that the Coweta County (Georgia) Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 last week to reject a request for a special-use permit for a helicopter port at a residence. The article notes that the commissioners expressed concern over noise and safety issues related to the request.

According to the article, Mike Hutson requested the permit for 5-acre property at 33 Little Cabin Road off Lower Fayetteville Road near Cole Lake. Hutson said he had flown the helicopter out of his home property for two or three months late last year, until a neighbor complained to authorities. He said he was unaware that he needed a permit for fly the helicopter out of the neighborhood. Hutson said the helicopter is not as noisy as most people think, and is safe. "I feel I have a right to use the land, but I also want to be a good neighbor," he said.

The article notes that at a public hearing on May 14, commissioners said they were concerned about safety and noise issues. Robert Tolleson, the county planner, had recommended the request be denied, saying a helicopter port was not compatible with other land uses in the areas, could pose a risk to neighboring single-family homes, and could affect property values negatively.

Opponents of the permit request said the helicopter ruined the serenity of the area and was unsafe. Bruce Garon, a neighbor and 31-year-pilot veteran, said, "It is an extremely difficult aircraft to master. This is not the area for this kind of aircraft."

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Noise and Unruly Patrons at Music Hall Bother Connecticut Residents

PUBLICATION: The Hartford Courant
DATE: May 28, 1998
SECTION: Town News; Pg. B4
BYLINE: Johnny Mason
DATELINE: Hartford, Connecticut

The Hartford Courant reports that residents living near Barry Square in Hartford, Connecticut are criticizing the Webster Theater music club for problems ranging from noise to litter to fist-fights. At a meeting of the Barry Square Revitalization Committee held last week, many of the 80 residents who attended asked or demanded that something be done about the concert-goers.

According to the article, Justine Robertson decided to renovate and reopen the theater as a music hall about two years ago. At that time, neighbors were suspicious that a music club would increase traffic, noise and crime. But Robertson convinced residents and merchants that a successful Webster Theater would revitalize Barry Square, which is the deteriorating entrance to Hartford's South End. In its two years of operation, the club has had 400 shows, with acts ranging from Robert Cray to Megadeath. Now, the article says, some of the residents who originally supported Robertson's plans are criticizing the club, saying the same kinds of problems they worried about are happening.

At last week's meeting, some residents said the club has consistent problems with patrons who they say are noisy, create litter, hang around after concerts, engage in fist-fights, and block residents' driveways with their cars. Some residents said a music hall might not be able to operate in a residential neighborhood without problems. Resident Juan Ortega said, "From the time it opened we've had problems with people attending concerts at the theater. People are yelling at all hours of the night, there's sexual activity going on in the cars. They do whatever they want to do."

The article explains that Robertson said she is sympathetic to neighbors' complaints and wants to address their concerns. She said she has hired people to pick up trash every morning after an evening concert, she recently increased her security staff, and she has hired private police officers for bands that attract larger crowds. She said, "Some of these things are going to happen when you have a business in a residential area. I am going to attempt to be the best neighbor I can be."

The article also notes that residents in Manchester faced similar problems several years ago, when the Tunes Nightclub opened. Between 1991 and 1996, the club was charged with 25 violations, resulting in $8,250 in fines imposed by the liquor commission. A neighborhood group tried to get the commission to deny the club's request for a liquor license renewal, but the club closed in 1996, the article says. Leslie Frey, president of a block watch in the community, said, "The key for neighbors is to hang in there. If they're not happy, they have to talk to police, talk with the theater's owner, and with each other. You have to keep working with it."

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Maine Residents Oppose Proposed Motocross Track in Their Neighborhood

PUBLICATION: Central Maine Morning Sentinel (Waterville, ME)
DATE: May 27, 1998
SECTION: Local; Pg. 7
BYLINE: Darla Pickett
DATELINE: Benton, Maine
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: John and Terri Gurney, Ray Walston, residents; Harriet Warren, Planning Board member

The Central Maine Morning Sentinel reports that more than 40 people attended a public hearing Tuesday night in Benton, Maine to discuss a proposed motocross track off Route 100. The article says that many residents and some members of the Planning Board raised objections to the track, and there was little middle ground at the hearing.

The article reports that Sandra Gagnon has applied for a conditional use permit for the track, which would be located at least 2,000 feet away from the highway. She said she is willing to do whatever is required to complete the project. Gagnon said she will build a 15-foot wide, 4-foot high noise buffer with a fence on top, pave 30 feet of the entrance as directed by the Department of Transportation, and put in a pond to wet down the track and keep the dust down. In addition, she said she would dispose of waste with a dumpster and portable toilets, and would have plenty of parking for patrons. Gagnon also said no wildlife would be harmed by the project, and offered documents from the Department of Environmental Protection that she said support her claim. She promised to stay open only on Sunday, and to keep noise levels within the limits of the town ordinance. She also offered a professional noise test as evidence she planned to keep her word.

But, the article says, residents living near the track and some members of the Planning Board were skeptical. Planner Harriet Warren expressed concern about the driveway, asking whether there would be enough room for an ambulance and car to pass. She also asked to have a hydrologist study the potential groundwater problems, questioned the noise tests, and asked what plans had been made to insure adequate parking. Resident John Gurney said the noise test was "biased" and was based on a "very small number of bikes," while Terri Gurney claimed that the bikes were "tampered with" before the test. Resident Ray Walston also said the dirt bikes used for the noise test were manipulated. He said the Gagnons' friends rode the bikes and "held back a little." Other residents questioned the amount of dust the track would create, and whether the survey of the property was correct.

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Japanese Court Upholds Decision to Compensate Residents for Noise from Air Force Base

PUBLICATION: Jane's Defence Weekly
DATE: May 27, 1998
SECTION: Headlines; Vol. 29; No. 21; Pg. 4

Jane's Defence Weekly reports that the Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court in Japan has upheld a 1994 court decision to compensate 867 residents who filed a lawsuit over noise pollution from Okinawa's Kadena Air Force Base. The article says that the court ordered the government to increase the amount of compensation to 1.37 billion [yen?] ($10.2 million), but rejected a request to ban flight operations between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

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Press Release Touts Noise Reduction Headphones for Airplane Travel

DATE: May 27, 1998
SECTION: Lifestyle
DATELINE: Stamford, Connecticut

PR Newswire released the following press release from Noise Cancellation Technologies, a firm that sells noise reduction headphones, regarding the company's product:

To alleviate the stress, anxiety and exhaustion caused by aircraft engine noise that can limit a busy executive's productivity while traveling, give dad the NoiseBuster Extreme! (TM).

This personal active noise reduction headphone electronically reduces the airplane engine din that permeates the cabin and leaves desired sounds including speech and music clearly audible, says Irene Lebovics, President, NCT Hearing Products division, manufacturer of NoiseBuster Extreme! ($69 -- available in stores or call 800-278-3526). Even in-flight movies can be clearly heard! "For long trips, such as trans-Atlantic flights, executives often have a difficult time shaking jet lag," says Lebovics. "Reducing noise is certainly a help and this headphone is a gift that executives really appreciate as do their families when they arrive home relaxed and refreshed."

NoiseBuster Extreme! can bring the cabin din down to a tolerable level, while leaving desired sounds such as speech and music audible. A battery-powered controller senses the offensive noise and generates an equal but opposite sound wave, or "anti- noise," which selectively reduces only low-frequency noise. The headphone can be used in conjunction with portable audio and in-flight entertainment systems. All necessary adapter cables are included. For audio to be discernible in a noisy environment, it must be at least 3 decibels louder than the ambient noise, thus distorting the sound quality and exposing the listener to a potentially damaging sound level.

Notebook computers and airphones have turned airplane seats into mobile offices. However, the constant drone of the airplane engine does not create the ideal environment in which to write an important proposal, review meeting materials or rest up for a presentation six time zones away. "Simply conducting a meeting with colleagues on a long flight can be physically draining because the participants are forced to speak above engine noise, " Lebovics says. "When NoiseBuster is used as an audio headphone it is not necessary to overcompensate for background noise and in-flight music and movies can be enjoyed at a more reasonable volume level," Lebovics says.

Aside from travel, the product can be used to reduce the noise from lawnmowers, leaf blowers and other motorized gardening equipment; with computers to reduce fan hum and to enhance audio quality of CD-ROM applications; and when walking or jogging on noisy city streets or exercising on treadmills and other machines.

The headphone is currently available at Brookstone and The Sharper Image retail stores and through many catalogs, or call 800-278-3526. The suggested retail price is $69. For more information, contact: Joanna Lipper of Noise Cancellation Technologies, 203-961-0500, ext. 386.

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Ice Cream Trucks Get Increasing Criticism Around the Country

PUBLICATION: Telegraph Herald
DATE: May 27, 1998
SECTION: National/World; Pg. c 3
BYLINE: Associated Press
DATELINE: Sudbury, Massachusetts

The Telegraph Herald reports that ice cream trucks are facing a growing list of communities where they are not welcome. The trucks have been blamed for noise pollution, poor nutrition, traffic hazards, and attracting pedophiles as drivers, and laws restricting ice cream truck operations have sprouted around the country. The article goes on to focus on one ice cream truck operator who runs trucks on the Massachusetts - Rhode Island border.

The article reports that Sue Bankert owns Sue's Ice Cream, a six-truck operation that has sold ice cream in Massachusetts and Rhode Island since 1989. Bankert said, "Some people say the truck is annoying, but it's part of a summer tradition. The kids just love it. You should see them on the street corner dancing away to the music." But last year, the article says, Bankert was the target of an angry neighbor who complained that the truck's music was too loud. In response, city officials asked Bankert to keep the music lower than 85 decibels, the level of ambient noise in the neighborhood.

The article notes that officials in Hamilton, New York banned ice cream trucks from playing music at all, and violators face a steep fine and a stint in jail. In another case, officials in Stafford Township, New Jersey tried to prohibit a vendor from playing "Turkey in the Straw" on his truck's loudspeaker. In a lawsuit that went to federal court, the vendor won the free-speech case, but since then has voluntarily switched to a quieter song.

The article goes on to explain that in some other communities, traffic safety and the fear of pedophiles are have contributed to the opposition to ice cream trucks. In the Dallas suburb of University Park, ice cream trucks were banned after a 6-year-old seeking ice cream was seriously injured by a passing car. In Houston, trucks were banned from selling in school zones during class hours, after parents and teachers worried that kids were running into traffic to get to the ice cream trucks. And in Las Vegas, officials are pushing for mandatory background checks for vendors, in response to cases in Colorado and Boston where ice cream drivers were accused of sexually assaulting kids or other employees. Richard Griesel, an ice cream truck opponent in Sudbury, Massachusetts, said, "The ice-cream trucks sanction a relationship between a stranger and your children. I've taken a lot of ribbing about my stand, but a lot of parents have come up to me and thanked me."

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Canadian Accordian Player Refuses to Lower the Volume at his Outdoor Performances

PUBLICATION: The Toronto Star
DATE: May 27, 1998
BYLINE: Josh Brown
DATELINE: Bronte, Ontario, Canada

The Toronto Star reports that an accordion player in Bronte, Ontario has been asked by residents and police to lower the volume at his outdoor concerts at Bronte Harbor, just across from the Lakeside Marketeria on Bronte Road, and move to a new location. But the musician refuses to accommodate the requests. Police say they may ask a judge to impose restrictions on the musician's entertainment.

The article reports that Ron Jensen, 67, has played the accordion for 17 years at the same spot. He plays about four hours per night on warm weekends, the article says. He said he is determined to stay at the same location. He said, "I'm going to go back until they kick me out. I've been well-established in that spot and everybody keeps asking me to come back. There's only five people who have complained."

Meanwhile, police say they just want Jensen to turn down the volume and move down the road, away from condominiums on the harbor. Bronte village Constable Shane Crawford said, "He comes out with a trolley with eight speakers on it. Nobody's trying to kick him out of there -- we just want him to turn it down. He refuses to do anything and says his music is designed to be played loud." The article notes that if Jensen doesn't comply, he could end up in court and be charged $28 for breaking a noise bylaw. Police say they are ready to have a judge impose conditions, such as limiting his act to a few speakers.

Some townspeople are ready to defend Jensen, the article says. Former Bronte resident Conni Atwell said, "He's an attraction here. I've been away from here and always wonder if the accordion man will be back when I visit. The music's great, you'll get people dancing around it." Others say they will protest on Jensen's behalf. Bronte resident Jean Blair said, "It's beautiful music. I'll sign petitions and carry signs if he is asked to go. Music is good for everyone."

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Illinois Village Officials Consider Noise Pollution Ordinance

PUBLICATION: Chicago Tribune
DATE: May 27, 1998
SECTION: Metro Du Page; Pg. 3; Zone: D
BYLINE: Bob Goldsborough
DATELINE: Villa Park, Illinois

The Chicago Tribune reports that officials in Villa Park, Illinois are considering a noise pollution ordinance in order to address complaints from residents of Willow Pointe Condominiums that trucks parked at a Motel 6 make noise all night. The article says that several residents have recently demanded that the village control noise from parked trucks, especially those with refrigeration units.

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Pennsylvania Residents Group Opposes Wal-Mart Superstore

PUBLICATION: The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania)
DATE: May 26, 1998
SECTION: Local/Region, Pg. B5
BYLINE: Katie Wang
DATELINE: Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Dottie and Joseph Crago, residents; Anne Marie Crown, leader, No-Mart Coalition; Leo DeVito, attorney

The Morning Call reports that residents in Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania have formed a coalition to oppose a 203,750-square-foot Wal-Mart superstore and three outbuildings proposed for a site adjacent to Hamilton Boulevard and Lower Macungie Road. Residents are opposed to the development because of the noise and traffic it will create, and because of the large scale of the project. The article says that residents and the developer will square off tonight at a Planning Commission meeting at which each side will get time to present their case.

According to the article, both JDN Development Corporation and the No-Mart Coalition will have 30 minutes to present their side of the story at tonight's meeting. Then, both sides will have a 15-minute rebuttal period. Maury Robert, chair of the Planning Commission, said this format will allow both sides to present their views. Robert said the Planning Commission is not likely to vote tonight on the issue, but the board must make a recommendation to county supervisors within 90 days. Robert said, "If they meet all the provisions and subdivision ordinances, then the Planning Commission would have no other choice than to approve the plans."

The article reports that Anne Marie Crown, the leader of the No-Mart Coalition, said she anticipates almost 200 people will attend tonight's meeting. The group has gathered 2,500 signatures to stop the project. Crown said, "It's not even Wal-Mart per se that we're against. It's the magnitude. The infrastructure surrounding this site cannot handle this facility." She added, "It is oversized and out of character. If it were only 50,000 square feet, then that would be OK." Resident Dottie Crago, whose house is closest to the proposed development, said, "Just think about all the noise it's going to create. All the birds and owls will leave because of the noise." The coalition has hired attorney Leo DeVito and engineers from Spotts, Stevens & McCoy Inc. to help in their opposition.

Meanwhile, the article says Keith Morris, a Wal-Mart spokesperson, said people who don't shop at the store are the ones who are opposed. He said, "It's a business, a commercial entity -- not a nuclear power plant. The negative sentiment comes from people who don't shop at a Wal-Mart store. Maybe they'd rather shop at a Saks but [they shouldn't] ... limit the shopping of others." The article notes that Wal-Mart officials have said they will create a buffer zone of trees, shrubbery and fences to shield the Shepherd Hills housing development behind the proposed center. In addition, the article says, the developer has offered to add traffic signals and lanes to some of the intersections near the site. The Wal-Mart and related buildings are expected to draw 9,500 new vehicle trips on Hamilton Boulevard every day, compared to the current level of 23,500 vehicle trips per day.

No-Mart Coalition members also have said the proposed development is too close to the Lower Macungie Middle School, which is being constructed behind the proposed site. But Jeffrey DeHaan, president of the East Penn School Board, said if the developer complies with safety and traffic ordinances, safety wouldn't be an issue for the school. He said, "The administration looked into the matter and determined that the children are safe as long as the Lower Macungie Township approval authorities enforce their zoning and traffic requirements as they apply to the Wal-Mart land development." DeHaan added that all students will arrive by bus or car to school, so they won't be tempted to walk to the store.

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British Residents Oppose Day Nursery in their Neighborhood

PUBLICATION: The Sentinel (Stoke)
DATE: May 26, 1998
SECTION: Education: Nurseries, Pg.9
BYLINE: Michael Howard
DATELINE: Newcastle, England

The Sentinel reports that residents living near the site a proposed new 40-child day nursery in Newcastle, England are opposing the development. Residents say that traffic will increase and the peace and quiet they have in their backyards will disappear. The article notes that the Newcastle Borough Council will consider the application at an undetermined date.

According to the article, John Dawar wants to put an extension onto his large 19th-century detached house on Porthill Bank. The plans call for a double garage, a playroom above the garage, and a kitchen, playroom, and staff room on the back of the house. The front yard would be converted into a 14-space parking lot with access from Second Avenue.

But residents on Porthill Bank said the already busy road will become even more congested, and the noise from kids playing outside will ruin the peacefulness of their backyards, the article reports. Resident Sam Whitehead said, "The main road is so busy that the only place we can get some peace and quiet is the back garden. That will be disturbed by 40 children shouting and screaming if this goes ahead."

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Canadian Residents and Officials Protest for a Decade About Illegal Airfield, Without Resolution

PUBLICATION: The Vancouver Sun
DATE: May 26, 1998
SECTION: News; Pg. B3
BYLINE: Harold Munro
DATELINE: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

The Vancouver Sun reports that residents and officials in Surrey, British Columbia have been fighting to have the Airflow Ultralight Aviation airfield in the 4900 block of King George Highway shut down for a decade, without result. The article explains that the airfield owner has never had a business license and the land has never had proper zoning for an airfield since opening in 1981, but local politicians refuse to enforce a city zoning bylaw and shut down the airfield. Now, the article says, it may be too late for the city to get rid of the airfield because officials have allowed it to operate for so long. In the latest development, the Surrey City Council last week again postponed a decision on the airfield.

According to the article, resident Wayne Worobec calls the aircraft buzzing by his front window flying chainsaws. Another resident says they're like a swarm of angry wasps. But, the article says, despite efforts by residents, the British Columbia environment ministry, the Agricultural Land Commission, the provincial ombudsman, and other officials to get the airfield shut down or rezoned as a legal use, it remains. Worobec said, "In Surrey we have a council that couldn't make up their minds to save their lives." The article notes that the airfield is on property in the agricultural land reserve next to a wildlife sanctuary. City staff have repeatedly recommended that it not be allowed to remain there.

The article reports that last week, city staff members recommended to the council that an application by Fred Glasbergen, the airfield's owner, to rezone the land to allow an airfield be denied. But, the council instead asked for more background information from planning staff, the article says.

The article explains that the airfield was in the news last week after an instructor and student died in an ultralight plane crash. The crash and the delay by the council has reawakened some residents who had virtually given up on the airfield fight.

According to the article, Peter Carver, an ombudsman officer, wrote resident Worobec last October to say city officials had assured him the airfield operation would have to apply to rezone the property to commercial from agricultural. The ombudsman's office has reviewed complaints against the city for inaction on the airfield three times.

Residents and other opponents of the airfield want the council to process the rezoning application, the article explains, because no matter what the decision, the matter will then be forward to the Agricultural Land Commission for a decision on whether it is a permissible use in the agricultural land reserve. The Agricultural Land Commission has opposed the airfield as an encroachment on agricultural land through correspondence with city hall since at least 1988, the article says. But the commission has never been able to make a ruling on the airfield because the council has never forwarded an application to it.

Meanwhile, the article reports, the airfield's owner, Glasbergen, said he is not about to abandon the business without a fight, even if it means appealing to the provincial government. He added that he might ask Victoria to overrule the land commission if his zoning application is denied.

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Chicago Resident Approves Actions to Lower Car Stereo Noise

PUBLICATION: Chicago Tribune
DATE: May 26, 1998
SECTION: Commentary; Pg. 14; Zone: N; Voice Of The People (Letter)
DATELINE: Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Tribune printed the following letter-to-the-editor from Kathryn Kinnerk, a Chicago resident, regarding noise from car radios, car horns, and motorcycles:

I was very encouraged by "City's noise law lowers volume of auto stereos" (Metro, April 13) and the large number of cars impounded by the police for violating this ordinance. This new ordinance is of extreme importance in improving the quality of life of Chicago residents, as well as improving the city's image to attract more tourists and suburbanites.

But two more problems of equal importance to loud car radios are the deafening noise from motorcyclists and the excessive honking of car horns. These two disruptive, and completely unnecessary, actions have a serious destructive consequence on city living and working.

Overall, I am encouraged by the efforts of Mayor Richard Daley and the Chicago Police Department to bring civility to our streets again, and I am glad to see so much being done to raise the quality of life in Chicago.

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Australian Court is Told That Airport Flight Path Changes to Remove Noise from Neighborhoods Were Politically Motivated and Illegal

DATE: May 25, 1998
SECTION: Nationwide General News; Australian General News
BYLINE: Bruce Walkley
DATELINE: Sydney, Australia

AAP Newsfeed reports that the councils in Randwick and Woollahra, Australia have filed a lawsuit alleging that Environment Minister Robert Hill acted for political reasons last July when he made a decision to introduce a long-term operating plan (LTOP) for planes using the Sydney airport. The LTOP was introduced for the improper purpose of reducing noise from coalition-held federal electorates north of the city, according to attorneys for the plaintiffs. Former Transport Minister John Sharp is also accused of making politically motivated decisions, the article says. The case currently is being argued before the Federal Court, and is expected to last at least five days.

According to the article, Clarrie Stevens, an attorney for Randwick Council in Sydney's east, told Justice Paul Finn, "The improper purpose was to be relying upon political purposes rather than proper purposes." Stevens said Hill's purpose was "effectively to assist in removing aircraft noise from most coalition-held federal electorates in northern Sydney suburbs." Stevens also argued that Hill acted on irrelevant considerations when he "took into account the location of federal electoral boundaries and the undertaking of the prime minister to the seat of Lowe, in particular."

Stevens went on to say that his clients also allege that flight paths were changed without adequate consultation with the community, the article reports. He said proposed flight paths were altered in a significant manner between the time local communities had been consulted and the time the changes were implemented. This point applied especially to residential areas that had not previously been affected by airport noise or been warned that they might be affected. Stevens also argued that the ministers didn't take into account a number of relevant factors when making their decisions, and didn't adequately consult the Australian Heritage Commission and other similar bodies.

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Two Czech Cities Decide to Wall Off Their "Problematic" Gypsies

PUBLICATION: International Herald Tribune (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France)
DATE: May 25, 1998
SECTION: News; Pg. 1
BYLINE: Peter Green
DATELINE: Usti Nad Labem and Pilsen, Czech Republic

The International Herald Tribune reports that officials in Usti Nad Labem and Pilsen, Czech Republic have decided to wall off what they call "problematic" public housing residents, mainly low-income Gypsies, because officials say they destroy the quality-of-life of their neighbors. The walled-off areas will be guarded by round-the-clock police patrols. Some say the walled-off areas will be the equivalent of a ghetto for the residents, the article says.

According to the article, most of the estimated 300,000 Gypsies in the Czech Republic today arrived from Slovakia after World War II. The Gypsies, who prefer to be called Roma, have lives that are characterized by grinding poverty, poor education, teenage pregnancy, unemployment, petty crime, and alcoholism. The article says the Roma, who are darker-skinned than most Czechs, are often denied work, housing, or social benefits, and their children are routinely placed in schools for the learning disabled. In addition, Roma are often harassed by police and attacked by skinheads. In the latest incident, a Czech Roma died two weeks ago after he was beaten by skinheads, then run over by a passing truck as he lay unconscious in the street.

The article reports that in Usti Nad Labem, a depressed industrial city on the Elbe River, city officials have decided to build two four-meter-high (13-foot) walls around a pair of decrepit two-story apartment buildings on Maticni Street that house 39 Roma families, at a cost of 350,000 koruny ($10,900). Milan Knotek, spokesperson for the Usti city hall, said, "The fence will separate this problematic community from those people who have private houses on the road. The wall will not stop them from moving about. It will not be a ghetto enclosed on four sides." But, the article points out, residents of the two buildings will effectively have limited access to the rest of the city, due to three fences and an abandoned building that will box them in. The article notes that city officials also have said they will maintain their around-the-clock police patrols of the area.

Meanwhile, the non-Roma residents living in the neighborhood say they are not racist, they just want to be left alone. Hana Chladkova, a resident who said the wall was her idea, added that she just wants to sleep at nights and let her three-year-old son play in peace. But, she said the noisy neighbors, the garbage strewn around their apartment block, and the rats that come with it are too much. She said, "A barrier will be more aesthetic and it will keep out the noise, the dirt and the stink. They throw garbage out their windows, they piss from the balconies." Another resident, Alois Kaplan, made a video of the housing project in March that showed the yard and street littered with trash, and a pile of garbage about a meter high and several meters long.

The street's Roma residents say the city is at fault for their problems. Several Roma residents said the city won't provide them with the services they pay for, including hot water and garbage pickup. Other Roma residents said they were illegally resettled in the apartments. Gizela Kulenikova, a Roma resident, raises four children and cares for her disabled boyfriend in a two-room apartment that has no heat, hot water, shower, or bathtub. She said, "We are free people in a free country and they want to treat us like Red Indians in the United States."

But, the article reports, Jan Kocourek, the deputy mayor of the Usti district that includes Maticni Street, defended the plan to build a wall. He said, "These people have a different way of living, from afternoon until late at night, and they create noise." When asked if walling the Roma into what is effectively a ghetto violates their civil rights, Kocourek erupted in anger. He said, "Rights? Are you serious? What civil rights? They can vote, but they don't. They can work, but they don't. They can pay rent, but they don't." When asked if city officials had consulted with the Roma residents before deciding to build a wall, Kocourek shouted at the reporter, "You're an American. Did you ask the Red Indians when you put them on reservations?"

Meanwhile, in the city of Pilsen, officials plan to fence in a compound on the city's outskirts for several hundred public housing residents. The article reports that ten portable buildings will hold several hundred residents in a dormitory setup. The residents will be free to come and go, the article says, but a police station inside the compound will keep a round-the-clock watch. In addition, a warden appointed by the city will supervise the buildings and grounds, and will have the power to enter any room, whether the resident agrees to it or not.

Some are criticizing the cities' actions vehemently, the article reports. Pavel Dostal, a Social Democratic member of Parliament, said the Pilsen compound will be disproportionately filed with Roma. He added, "This is a concentration camp. This is how the Nazis started to 'solve' the Jewish question." The article notes that about 77,000 Jewish Czechs were deported by the Nazis and killed in the death camps in World War II, and nearly all of the country's Roma population of 8,000 also were deported by the Nazis and 7,400 died in the camps. Dimitrina Petrova, executive director of the European Roma Rights Center in Budapest, said, "This is pure racist segregation. It's incredible. It's totally unacceptable in a civilized democracy. We have noticed for some time that the Czech Republic seems to be the champion of racism against Roma."

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North and South Orange County in California Continue to Fight Over Proposed Airport

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: May 25, 1998
SECTION: Part A; Page 1; Metro Desk
BYLINE: Ray Tessler
DATELINE: Irvine, California area
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Project '99; Bill Kogerman, member, Taxpayers for Responsible Planning

The Los Angeles Times reports that the proposal to build an international airport at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station near Irvine, California has created a controversy that has split Orange County along north-south lines, and has strained families, friendships, and political alliances in the area. The article goes on to detail the ways in which the opposing sides have become divided.

The article reports that the plans call for an airport that would serve about 25 million passengers a year by 2020, translating into 492 jet takeoffs or landings per day.

According to the article, the airport issue has pitted the old money of settled north Orange County against the new money in the young and still-growing south. The late 19th and early 20th century northern cities are characterized tight grids of short, straight streets where 2 million people live. By contrast, the newer communities in the south feature parks and hills weaving around and through neighborhoods where about 700,000 people live. South county is usually defined as everything south of and including Irvine to the San Diego County border. The southern communities have attracted retirees and upwardly mobile refugees from Los Angeles and the county's more urbanized north, the article says. The south has the most to lose from the airport plan, because planes from an El Toro airport would fly over those communities, bringing noise, falling property values, more air pollution, and worse traffic congestion.. Seventy percent of voters in the south oppose an airport, the article says, according to the most recent Times Orange County poll. The poll also found that 36% oppose an airport in the north.

The article explains that one community in the south, Newport Beach, strongly supports the airport because residents there have put up with jet noise for years from John Wayne Airport and want other communities to share the burden. But, the article says, except for some sectors of the business community in the south, nobody else seems to support an airport of any kind.

Meanwhile, to north county residents who support the airport, like Reed Royalty, the project "represents the maturing of the county." Airport supporters often point out that county voters passed (narrowly) a measure in 1994 calling for a commercial airport, and rejected another measure (by 59.8% to 40.2%) in 1996 to reverse the first vote. Ralph Bernard, whose home is near John Wayne's flight path, said, "When they hear 'international,' they think 8th Air Force bombers are going in. Commercial airplanes are going to be quieter than the military jets they have now" at El Toro. Some northerners feel that the southerners are being elitist, obstructionist, and bratty, the article says. Mike Stevens of Newport Beach said, "I don't hear noise, I hear money. It's good for the county." Northerner Bob Olds said, "They won't negotiate, they won't come to the table. 'We'll only do it our way, we won't cooperate.'"

The article goes on to say that emotions run very high over the issue, as some find out who give speeches in their opponents territory. Airport supporter Royalty, president of the Orange County Taxpayers Association, gave a talk recently in south county, and he felt attacked on the issue. "People scream, their nostrils flare and they bare their teeth," he said. But the anger and passion isn't confined to the airport opponents, the article says. Bill Kogerman, of the anti-airport Taxpayers for Responsible Planning, said when he and ally Bert Hack gave a speech in the Newport Beach-Balboa area, "they were about ready to stone us. I thought Bert and I were going to have to go back to back and work our way out of the room." Kogerman added that one of his car tires was flattened and that he received an anonymous bomb threat over the airport issue.

The article goes on to describe other personal arguments over the issue among friends and family throughout the county. For example, when Newport Beach resident Joan Bernard and her tennis team played Lake Forest, everything went fine until the conversation after the game touched on the airport topic. Bernard said, "They really became riled because they knew we came from Newport Beach. They got wild-eyed, their hair stood on end. But they were nice ladies." Another resident, Bob Olds, lives in the north but attends church in the south. He said when he attends church in Irvine, "most people don't bring it up. They know we live in Newport. They don't want to make an argument." The issue has even caused tension in families, the article says. Southerner Tristan Krogius avoids the issue with his son-in-law Scott Mason, a Corona del Mar resident who owns an insurance and benefits firm. Krogius said, "He's a wonderful guy, but he lives up there." Mason said, "We don't talk much about the airport because of geography." When Mason was asked his views on the airport issue, he answered cautiously. He said he understands the south's sensitivity, but he added, why should the entire county have the ability to "fly out of my backyard" without somebody sharing the burden? He added, "We have a need for more air transportation. I fly a lot, so I like convenience. I'm not thrilled about driving to Ontario or LAX [Los Angeles International]" for a flight. Krogius' wife, Barbara, remarked, "We even talk about religion, but not the airport."

According to the article, the airport has even turned Republican against Republican in a county where the GOP dominates. For instance last month, John Hedges, a Newport Beach City Councilor and a Republican candidate for county supervisor, sent a "confidential" letter to fellow Republicans saying that the anti-airport organization Project '99 "is really a front organization" that funds the Tides Center in San Francisco. The Tides Center, Hedges went on, sponsors "ultra-liberal projects," including gay rights and a needle distribution program for drug addicts. Some loyal Republicans who oppose the airport, including Krogius, were incensed. Krogius accused Hedges of "further screwing up the Republican Party."

The airport controversy hasn't been confined just to rhetoric. Tactics are coming into play as well. Frustrated south county residents have talked of seceding from the county and forming a new county, although, the article reports, many leaders recognize there's not a sufficient tax base to support a government. Some south county residents have boycotted shops in Newport Beach, Disneyland, and Knott's Berry Farm, which favor a commercial airport. And, there's talk of more formal boycotting. Southerner Bert Hack said, "People are so mad, talk of boycott is bubbling beneath the surface." In a creative tactic, Project '99, the anti-airport group, distributed CDs with recordings of what commercials jets would sound like.

The article also considers the question of what Orange County relations will be like if the airport is built. The conflict surely would leave scars from the years of political tumult, litigation, and revenge against the north in general and county government in particular, the article says. Mark Baldassare, professor of urban planning at UC Irvine, said whenever county officials float a bond issue or want to raise taxes, "you can assume it will be revenge time for south county residents. If county officials ever need to go to the voters for anything, they can expect a big 'no.'" Lawsuits likely will be mounted to resist the airport at every stage. Southerner Hack said, "It will be litigated far into the future; I know half a dozen areas of possible litigation. I don't think there'll ever be forgiveness." If the airport is built, the article concludes there is a sense that the ill will between north and south could become a permanent rift.

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Air Tour Group Alleges the Park Service Overstated Noise Impact of Flights Over Grand Canyon

PUBLICATION: The Weekly of Business Aviation
DATE: May 25, 1998
SECTION: Vol. 66, No. 21; Pg. 231
DATELINE: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The Weekly of Business Aviation reports that the United States Air Tour Association (USATA), an industry group of commercial air tour operators, charged last week that the National Park Service significantly overstated the noise impact of flights over Grand Canyon National Park.

According to the article, USATA officials accused the National Park Service of the following actions:

Altering an industry-standard computer program that systematically caused the computer model to show more aircraft overflight sound in the Grand Canyon than actually occurred.

Assigning acoustic specialists to listen for the threshold of sound, which was approximately 30 decibels, and then lowering the threshold by more than 10 decibels to plot their sound overlays. USATA officials claim this is "an unreasonable approach which significantly biased the results."

"Taking liberties" by using a 12-hour day instead of a 24-hour day to plot the noise impact area, a change that doubled the illustrated impact of aircraft overflights.

The article reports that according to the USATA, the combined effect of the actions by the National Park Service was to "increase estimates of sound above accurate levels."

In criticizing the Park Service, USATA cited a noise study conducted by John Alberti of J.R. Engineering, and done for the Helicopter Association International on behalf of Papillon Airways. USATA officials said the noise study later was submitted for peer review to Dr. K.K. Ahuja, professor of aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech University. The industry group said that correct analysis of the original data used by the Park Service "demonstrates conclusively according to the Alberti Study that SFAR-50 restored natural quiet to more than 95 percent of the park," which far exceeded requirements imposed by the federal government, even during the busiest air tour months of the year. The peer reviewer, Ahuja, said the Alberti noise study "claims to have shown that 'the government studies were biased and misleading due to several invalid and unscientific assumptions that overstate the sound levels and sound detectability.' It also claims that 'when these errors are corrected, the result is that over 95 percent of the [Grand Canyon National Park] will meet the Park Service's own definition of natural quiet in the busiest month for air tours (July).' The reviewer agrees with these claims...." According to the article, Steve Bassett, president of USATA, said the Park Service "appears to have deceived Congress, the air tour industry and the public when it stated that natural quiet had not been restored at the Grand Canyon. We believe there is ample evidence here for Congress to be more than a little suspicious of the information they are receiving from the National Park Service."

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Oregon Airport Officials End Experiment to Reroute Planes Due to Noise Complaints

PUBLICATION: The Columbian (Vancouver, WA)
DATE: May 24, 1998
SECTION: Opinion; Pg. B12
BYLINE: Columbian editorial staff
DATELINE: Vancouver, Washington

The Columbian printed an editorial that says the Port of Portland, which operates Portland (Oregon) International Airport, ended an experiment last Wednesday to reroute jets after hundreds of people complained about the noise. The editorial argues that the complaints are understandable, and that the representation of Vancouver, Washington on a new formal panel to address airport noise issues will be important for the community.

According to the editorial, the experiment was supposed to have lasted for three months, but airport officials canceled it after just three weeks. The decision came after 1,516 noise complaints were registered, or about 25 times what the airport usually receives in a whole month. The decision came on a recommendation of the airport's Noise Abatement Advisory Committee.

The editorial says that to a large extent, the noise complaints were understandable and inevitable. The flight path rerouting was intended to decrease the overall noise generated by departing flights, but the effect was to shift jet noise from one neighborhood to another. Neighborhoods that had never experienced low-flying jets before suddenly had them overhead. In addition, the editorial reports, the experiment also had the unexpected effect of forcing some jets lower and shifting the flight patterns of turboprop planes, which generated additional noise problems. The editorial also argues that there was so much publicity surrounding the test, that it was virtually certain that people would notice plane noise more than usual. The airport received dozens of noise complaints from residents living east of the airport, even though those flight patterns were not changed, the editorial points out.

The next step for airport officials, the editorial says, is to analyze the data and complaints and attempt to come up with a new strategy to improve airport noise. The writer approves of this action, citing the fact that the airport is likely to continue to be one of the fastest growing in the nation. The port authority also will disband the advisory committee and replace it with a more formal panel, with members selected by various jurisdictions, including Clark County in Washington. The editorial argues that it's important that neighborhoods in Vancouver, Washougal, and Camas participate fully in the process. Washington communities shouldn't have to bear the brunt of more jet noise, while Portlanders escape it, the writer concludes.

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Residents Weigh in on Noise From California's Van Nuys Airport

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: May 24, 1998
SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 14; Zones Desk
DATELINE: Van Nuys, California
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: George Jerome, Chair, Van Nuys Citizens Advisory Council; Anne Carver, Co-Chair, Airport Committee, Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association

The Los Angeles Times printed the following letters-to-the-editor from George Jerome, chair of the Van Nuys Citizens Advisory Council, and Anne Carver, co-chair of the airport committee of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, regarding noise from the Van Nuys (California) Airport:

To the editor:

Whose fault is it that there is noise in the San Fernando Valley?

Van Nuys Airport opened as a private airport in 1928; at the time, the rest of the Valley was cornfields and orange trees. As the population grew in Los Angeles, people moved from the downtown and Hollywood areas to the Valley, creating a huge demand for housing here.

The job of creating zoning regulations lies with the city of Los Angeles. And while both the state and federal governments recognize that there are areas surrounding airports that are not best suited for residential housing, the city of Los Angeles has never recognized this fact. Instead of zoning the areas in the immediate community of Van Nuys Airport as industrial or commercial, the city has consistently allowed more and denser residential homes to be built near the airport and under its flight path. The city just did it again, approving a 23-unit development to be built one mile from the north end of the runway. Vocal anti-airport critics openly support such developments--as they explain--to add to the complaining voices.

This is an excellent example of why Valley residents are frustrated with downtown politics. We are suffering because of downtown decisions that do not take into account their impact on our community. Those who have represented the Valley since 1928 should have shown more leadership in zoning the community properly in the first place. Now that Van Nuys Airport has established itself as a consistent revenue generator for the Valley, why should airport users have to pay for the mistakes of politicians past?

George Jerome, Chair, Van Nuys Citizens Advisory Council, West Hills

To the editor:

I am writing in response to letters criticizing Congressman Brad Sherman on his airport noise survey ("Noise Survey," May 3, and "Questionnaire About Airports," April 19). Obviously the letter writers do not live in an area affected by Van Nuys Airport or Burbank Airport. The fact of the matter is that Sherman recognized that both airports have become a problem in some areas. Residents have their sleep interrupted on a regular basis. They have their day-to-day lives disrupted by what has become constant aircraft noise. Something else to be considered is the amount of air pollution put out by the aircraft over residential areas. There needs to be a balance between business and residential life. People should not be driven from their homes.

Sherman was attempting to find out just how big a problem area airports had become. Perhaps those complaining about the survey are just unhappy about the results.

I would like to thank Sherman for listening to his constituents and caring enough to look into the matter. We need more elected officials that care about all of their constituents.

Anne Carver, Co-Chair, Airport Committee, Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association

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Tennessee Town Passes New Noise Ordinance, After Making Changes

PUBLICATION: The Tennessean
DATE: May 24, 1998
SECTION: Wilson, Pg. 1
BYLINE: Warren Duzak
DATELINE: Mount Juliet, Tennessee

The Tennessean reports that the City Commission in Mount Juliet, Tennessee passed a new noise ordinance Monday at the first of two readings. The new ordinance was proposed after City Judge John Gwin said that the old ordinance was difficult to enforce. Several changes were made to the proposed ordinance before it passed last week, the article says.

According to the article, Judge Gwin said the old ordinance established decibel levels as the criteria for determining noise levels. Decibel levels can be measured only by using sophisticated equipment, and although the city purchased the equipment, it was rarely used. The proposed new ordinance will include decibel provisions, but also will rely on common sense measures. For example, if a police officer in a car with the doors closed and the windows rolled up can hear an offending sounds, then it counts as a violation.

The proposed new ordinance will address a number of noises, the article reports, including lawn mowers, car horns, televisions, musical instruments, and anything that makes too much noise between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. If a person can hear the noise 50 feet or more from a property line, it counts as a violation. And, in a car with doors shut and windows rolled up, a noise that can be heard 30 feet from a property line is a violation. Or, if a noise is 15 decibels higher than background noise between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. or 25 decibels higher than background noise during other hours, it constitutes a violation.

The article goes on to say that some provisions in the original proposed ordinance were dropped out by commissioners last week. The original ordinance prohibited using "lawn mowers, brush-clearing equipment, blowers and other equipment used for cleaning or maintenance" on Sunday. That measure was included, according to City Attorney Dan Alexander, because many communities have a tradition of no motorized yard work on Sundays. But Commissioner David Scott introduced an amendment to remove that prohibition, and the commission approved it. Scott said, "Some of my neighbors do cut their grass on Sunday." Another prohibition of the original ordinance banned car horns except to announce danger or communicate a warning. But Commissioner James Bradshaw introduced an amendment, which the commission approved, that allows motorists to use an occasional "toot" for other purposes.

Because of the changes the commission made, the article notes, using construction tools such as jackhammers or pneumatic nail guns would be permitted on Sundays. This has worried some police officers, who say that construction on Sundays is one of their biggest noise complaints. Police Captain Ted Floyd said, "I'm not sure a contractor has the right to build a house on Sunday. We do need some kind of tool ... if the city wants us to stop that on Sunday." The article notes that the ordinance can be amended again at its second reading before it becomes law.

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Local Massachusetts Official Will Meet With Federal Aviation Administration About Airport Noise

PUBLICATION: The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA)
DATE: May 29, 1998
SECTION: News; Pg. 08C
DATELINE: Milton, Massachusetts

The Patriot Ledger reports that Richard Neely, the Select Board Chair in Milton, Massachusetts, has set up a meeting for June 29 with Jane Garvey, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and the former director of Boston's Logan International Airport, to discuss airplane noise at Logan. The article notes that jet noise has afflicted Milton and other towns for years, but local officials have not been able to get the FAA to address their complaints.

The article explains that after Garvey was appointed to the FAA Administrator post, the Milton Select Board sent her a letter expressing their concern about the jet noise from Logan. She responded with a note that said their concerns would "receive full attention." Neely said, "We hope to get the attention [from Garvey] that we haven't been able to get out of Washington."

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Washington School District Rejects Airport Money for Noise Study Because There Are Strings Attached

PUBLICATION: The Seattle Times
DATE: May 29, 1998
SECTION: South; Pg. B1
BYLINE: Marc Stiles
DATELINE: Seattle, Washington area

The Seattle Times reports that officials with the Highline School District near Seattle, Washington yesterday rejected the Port of Seattle's offer to pay for a jet-noise study because they say it is too restrictive. The Port operates the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the airport explains. Last week, Port officials announced they would pay up to $350,000 for a noise study in the school district. But Highline officials have already started their own noise study, and they say using the Port's money would force them to start the study over. Highline officials asked that the Port instead help pay for the study already underway.

The article reports that the Port and school district have fought over jet noise since the airport's second runway was added in 1970. Takeoffs and landings on that runway have increased from 150,676 in 1970 to 385,298 last year, according to school district officials. Frustrated by the lack of progress, the school district began its own noise study earlier this year. In the first phase, professional noise measurements will be made at 16 schools, and in the second phase, insulation costs will be determined. The second phase is expected to be finished by the end of the year, the article says. According to Highline Superintendent Joe McGeehan, the total project cost is $1 million. So far, the school district has gotten $165,000 from the state for the study, and has matched that amount themselves. McGeehan said the district may also seek money from the Federal Aviation Administration and Puget Sound Regional Council, because those agencies gave the Port permission to expand the airport with a third runway.

In addition, school district officials said that the Port's offer of $350,000 came with restrictions on the scope of the noise study, and would force them to start the study over. Officials worry that this could result in poor insulation work, and could leave the district paying for extra improvements. According to School Board member Ed Pina, the school district already has independently insulated six schools according to FAA standards, and the work was inadequate. The problem, Pina said, comes on hot days when frustrated teachers shut off the noisy air-ventilation systems and open classroom windows. Jet noise then fills the classrooms, the article says.

According to the article, Port Commissioner Patricia Davis said the Port will pay whatever it takes to muzzle the noise, including insulation, new ventilation systems, and any other improvements related to noise. Davis added that school officials could take the Port's $350,000 to study the noise issue, and use the money it already has to examine their other concerns.

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Tennessee Man Mounts Siren on Tractor to Retaliate Against Nearby Gun Club

PUBLICATION: The Tennessean
DATE: May 28, 1998
SECTION: Local, Pg. 4B
BYLINE: Leon Alligood
DATELINE: Wartrace, Tennessee

The Tennessean reports that J.C. Hillin, a resident of Wartrace, Tennessee, was cited for disorderly conduct after he mounted a siren on his tractor to retaliate against noise from a nearby gun club. Yesterday, Hillin, a veteran county commissioner, waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Bedford County General Sessions Court and was bound over to the grand jury. The next session of the grand jury convenes on June 22, the article says.

According to the article, a cowboy gun club, the Wartrace Regulators, opened a quarter-mile away from Hillin's farm. Hillin said the gun club members shoot at plywood targets and disturbing his peace and quiet. In retaliation, Hillin mounted a siren on his tractor and rode around his farm with the siren wailing. The article reports that it didn't stop the gun club members because they wore earplugs, but it annoyed Hillin's other neighbors. Hillin was cited for disorderly conduct, but previously said he would not stop his activities until the gun club closes.

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More Flights at Dallas' Love Field Would Break Moral Contract with Residents to Limit Noise, Says Editorial

PUBLICATION: The Dallas Morning News
DATE: May 24, 1998
SECTION: Editorials; Pg. 2J; Editorials
DATELINE: Dallas, Texas

The Dallas Morning News published the following editorial about the current litigation over flight limits at Dallas' Love Field Airport. The editorial reads as follows:

Wait a minute. It's time to back off from the war of Love Field litigation. Step out of the courtroom. Look at the real ramifications of throwing Love Field open to hundreds of daily flights.

The war over Love Field has been portrayed as one of battling cities, corporations and politicians - Fort Worth vs. Dallas; American Airlines vs. Legend Airlines; Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., vs. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. But there are very real problems with the removal of Love Field flight limits that will affect all citizens in this community, regardless of whether they think they have a stake in this fight. Retaining restrictions on the inner-city airport isn't just about ensuring the economic viability of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It also is about the city government's ability to set quality-of-life standards for Dallas.

Continental Airlines wants to move full speed ahead with plans to begin flight operations at Love Field in mid-June. American Airlines has announced it intends to provide flight service at the Dallas airport in the near future. Other airlines surely will do the same if Continental and American get their way. That would shatter the 30-year agreement between Dallas and Fort Worth that created D/FW International Airport. As long as warring councils and airlines make this a personal legal fight, there is little hope of peacefully resolving the litigation. Dallas and Fort Worth have now been ordered by the courts to hire a mediator, who will try to move the cities beyond the Love Field impasse.

It's time to set personalities aside and deal with the practical reasons why Dallas should fight for the right to control airline operations at Love Field: Many neighborhoods around the municipal airport have flourished with the understanding that Love would be limited to commuter flights. Reopening the airport for a huge increase in air traffic would break the moral contract with residents to limit noise. It also would set back much of this inner-city revitalization. Parking garages at Love Field already are jammed, and surrounding streets have become heavily congested. The city would face the prospect of spending millions on improvements if the airport were opened up. The city's air quality problems would be worsened by a major increase in Love Field flights. Although air safety at Love is not cited as a problem by the Federal Aviation Administration, any stepped-up activity at an inner-city airport is reason for concern. Major high-rise development around Love Field means an airline crash could be even more devastating. Downtown projects such as the planned Nasher Sculpture Garden in the Arts District and the new performance hall would be directly affected by the noise from increased Love Field flight activity.

But the over-arching fact to remember is that a deal's a deal. Dallas made a deal with Fort Worth in 1968 to build Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. And despite occasional turmoil through the years, the agreement the two cities forged has generated billions of dollars in economic growth. With the region now flourishing and Congress trying to take away most local control of airports, Dallas may be tempted to stop fighting for the 1968 airport accord. The City Council must resist that temptation.

The Love Field battle is about keeping promises. It's about retaining the right to make decisions that are in the best interest of all citizens. Dallas cannot afford to abandon those crucial principles.

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New Development Brings Loss of Peace and Quiet Once Enjoyed in New West County, Colorado

PUBLICATION: The Idaho Statesman
DATE: May 27, 1998
SECTION: Editorial
BYLINE: Don Olsen
DATELINE: New West County, Colorado

The Idaho Statesman published an editorial from Don Olsen contemplating the noise of crowing roosters, prairie dogs and the aspirations of subdivision developers in New West County, Colorado.

Olsen’s editorial discusses the loss of peace and quiet once enjoyed on the Idaho ranchlands. He specifically mentions the county’s new “right to farm” ordinance that is intended to protect farmers from the newcomers who don't appreciate night-time tractor noise, livestock smells and pesticide spraying next to their rural subdivisions. The editorial reads as follows:

I'm walking through the hay fields, shovel over shoulder, Mr. Irrigation Specialist. I've just adjusted the ditch water in the lower pasture to drown some prairie dog holes; now I'm headed over to the new oat field to see what the gate pipe looks like.

Normally the editor of a small-town magazine in western Colorado, this year I've become a ranch hand, helping my arthritis-plagued father try to keep his small angus cattle ranch in operation at least one more year.

A week ago we were irrigating the hay fields in a driving four-day rainstorm that had left everything totally soaked.

But the Fire Mountain Canal, which supplies our water, is 19 miles long - you can't turn it off because your pastures are slowly turning into official EPA wetlands.

I stop at a convenient rock to survey the situation. Digger, the springer- spaniel irrigation dog, stands guard to ensure that no wily angus calves sneak up and smell us. Red-winged blackbirds flit through the fields and mourning doves call in the distance. The mountains are still covered with deep, shining snow. Eventually, that snow will melt and find its way into my ditch and irrigate the oats.

I remember an article I'd read that morning. A scientist theorizes that planet Earth is being constantly bombarded with giant snowball comets that hit the upper atmosphere and then dissolve harmlessly into rain. He believes that all water on Earth accumulated over millions of years from these huge cosmic snowball showers.

I look at my ditch water. Is this actually alien moisture from deepest outer space? I look at my body, which is mostly H2O. Am I mostly alien, too? If so, what's my mission on this Godforsaken planet? Is irrigating these pastures some forlorn attempt to return to my galactic essence?

Digger's ready to go. We walk through the west pasture, assaulted by the chattering of prairie dogs.

"Chatter all you want," I say, "your day is coming."

I regard prairie dogs the way the Dalai Lama regards mosquitoes. "Bite me once, I brush off; bite me twice, I brush off; bite me three times, whap!"

I think the Lama is a wise man.

We hike down to the east corner of the farm. Our newest neighbors, rural refugees with more junk than I've ever seen accumulated in one place, are feeding their big flock of fighting cock roosters. There is apparently a market for these in Texas, where people pay good money to watch the birds tear each other to pieces. My concern with the fighting cocks is the ruckus they raise as they spend their short lives tied to make-shift crate shelters near our fence line. Thirty roosters crowing at sunrise and sunset every day can certainly disturb the neighborhood.

But nobody apparently has grounds to object to this cacophony; the county recently adopted a "right to farm" ordinance that prohibits complaints about neighboring farm practices. The intent of the law is to protect farmers from New West newcomers who don't appreciate livestock smells, pesticide spraying and night-time tractor noise next to their rural subdivisions. I don't know how the country would categorize a big flock of fighting roosters.

Digger and I head north to check some more water sets. A bulldozer beyond the fence line is making a racket. The new owners above us are putting in one of those rural subdivisions on what used to be an excellent apple orchard. Now the land's apparently about to grow double-wides instead of Red Delicious. The orchard once provided a nice half-mile sound buffer between our farm and the highway, but the noise of truck and car traffic is now unobstructed and grows louder every year as new subdivisions are built all around us.

Farming's at best a marginal proposition, compensated only by the chance to live away from the clutter and hubbub of the urban world. Now even that seems to be disappearing from what was once our pastoral little valley.

Digger and I trudge back home, while I contemplate the problems of the roosters, the prairie dogs (which are totally out of control in the lower pasture) and the subdivision developers, who never met a hay field they didn't want to plat.

Maybe somehow those fighting cocks and the chattering rodents could be trained to harass the subdividers, leaving us anachronistic old irrigators some peace and quiet to contemplate the sun as it slowly sets over what's become a very crowded - and noisy - New West valley.

At least that would be something to crow about.

Don Olsen is the editor of the Valley Chronicle and a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News, Paonia, Colo.

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Nostalgic Ice Cream Trucks Considered a Dangerous Nuisance in Cites throughout the United States

PUBLICATION: The Pantagraph
DATE: May 27, 1998
SECTION: News; Pg. A11
DATELINE: Bloomington, Illinois

The Pantagraph publishes an article discussing the variety of laws and restrictions on ice cream trucks that have popped up across the county.

According to the article, baby boomers who once chased after ice cream trucks as giggling children now consider the vendors of frozen treats as aggravating - and even dangerous. Complaints against the ice cream trucks have ranged from poor nutrition and noise pollution to creating traffic hazards and attracting pedophiles, the article said.

Sue Bankert, 40, owner of Sue's Ice Cream, a six-truck operation is interviewed for the article. Bankert has sold ice cream in towns along the state line between Massachusetts and Rhode Island since 1989. "Some people say the truck is annoying, but it's part of a summer tradition," the paper said quoting Bankert. "The kids just love it. You should see them on the street corner dancing away to the music." Bankert offers about 80 confections ranging in price from 50 cents to $1.50.

Last year, Bankert was required by the city to keep her tunes below 85 decibels, the level of normal ambient neighborhood noise. The mandate came as a settlement with an angry neighbor who complained to local officials that Bankert's version of "The Entertainer" - the Scott Joplin piano rag made famous in the movie "The Sting" - was too loud.

In Hamilton, New York, city officials banned all ice cream vendors from playing amplified tunes. Vendors in violation of the ordinance face a steep fine and up to 15 days in jail.

But not all vendors have been silenced.

Stafford Township, New Jersey tried to silence vendor Jeffrey Cabaniss' playing of "Turkey in the Straw" on his truck's loudspeaker. But Cabaniss resisted and prevailed in federal court on the basis of free-speech case. He has since voluntarily changed his tune, the paper said, to the quieter, less jarring "Music Box Dancer."

Noise isn't the only complaint against the ice cream trucks that the article discusses. Some cities fear the trucks pose traffic safety problems and fear they bring pedophiles into the neighborhoods.

A suburb of Dallas called University Park for example, decided to ban all mobile ice cream vendors last year after a passing car seriously injured a 6-year-old treat-seeker. Ice cream trucks (375 of them) were barred from selling in school zones during class hours in Houston, due to fears that children's hot pursuit of the treats was prompting them to run in to passing traffic.

The article mentions other incidences where children and employees were sexually assaulted in the ice cream truck. Las Vegas officials identified the need to stop "unsavory people" from selling ice cream to children, and have pushed for mandatory background checks for vendors.

The vendors themselves are the persons in danger in other circumstances. The article points to several incidences where vendors where shot to death during robberies. Bankert is noted saying that rowdy teen-agers have yelled obscenities at her drivers and even tried to tip over her trucks.

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Florida County Officials Consider Whether Some Airboats Should Be Banned on a River

PUBLICATION: Press Journal
DATE: May 26, 1998
SECTION: A Section; Pg. A6
BYLINE: Drew Dixon
DATELINE: Indian River and Brevard Counties, Florida
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Lynn Stieglitz, vice president, Friends of the St. Sebastian River; Frank DeJoia, board member, Friends of the St. Sebastian River

The Press Journal reports that officials in Brevard County, Florida have deferred action on a proposed ban on airboats on the Sebastian River until Indian River County officials decide whether to regulate airboats on its portion of the river. The article says that the Indian River County Commission will hold a public hearing on the issue June 2 in Vero Beach. Large airboats operated by commercial tourism companies have drawn criticisms from residents on the river because of their noise.

According to the article, Indian River County Commissioner Fran Adams said the commission probably won't decide to ban all airboats from the river. Instead, she said, the discussion will focus on the larger airboats used by commercial tourism companies. Adams said, "In terms of the St. Sebastian River, we have to look at the compatibility issue. Is it compatible with the larger airboats? The issue seems to be the noise from this particular airboat."

Bob Taylor, who owns two 33-foot-long airboats, each holding 35 passengers, has been the target of much of residents' criticism. Taylor conducts ecological tours of the Sebastian River about three times a week, and wants to increase the number to three times a day. Residents and environmental activists say that boats like Taylor's are too loud and create too large of a wake, the article reports.

Lynn Stieglitz, vice president of Friends of the St. Sebastian River, an environmental activist group, said Taylor shouldn't be allowed to increase trips on the river. She said, "I'm speaking against commercial as opposed to recreational airboats. Three to four trips a day, this is a lot of noise." Frank DeJoia, a board member of the group and a resident of one of the river's tributaries, said the group wants all airboats banned, but the large commercial vessels are the most troubling. He said, "The main culprit is these large airboats. They come by my house and the upper reaches of the river. They're still about 500 feet from my house and it's devastating when they come by here. It's really unbelievable the noise that's generated."

Meanwhile, the article reports, Taylor said he will fight either county if they ban his boats from the river. He said, "If they try to outlaw it, it will be litigated. I will go through all the way to the Supreme Court." Taylor said his airboats are quieter than the limits set in noise ordinances in Brevard and Indian River counties. He said, "I'm telling you, I always run less than 50 decibels and you're allowed 90 decibels." Taylor also said he's being discriminated against by the residents who say his airboats scare off wildlife and make too much noise. He said, "I always knew that's what [an airboat ban] was after. It's typical of immoral people trying to use the power of government to extort. If we were making a lot of noise, if I were scaring off wildlife, how can I run eco-tours to see wildlife?"

Adams of the County Commission said the controversy over large airboats probably could be resolved simply by discussions between some of the residents and Bob Taylor. She said, "I don't think there's been an effort to talk to Mr. Taylor" by many of the residents. No matter what the Indian River County Commission decides, Adams said, some people won't be happy.

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