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The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
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August 22, 2012     The Adams County Record
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August 22, 2012
 

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Page 14 Wednesday, August 22, 2012 The Adams County Record Will we improve it? BY DALE FISK AND DEB WILSON Since most of us don't directly use the airport, its importance is not obvious to us; it just isn't an obvious part of our everyday life. But, not only is it more of an asset than most of us realize, with some effort it could become more of an asset. How much is it used? It's impossible to know exactly now many planes use the facilities. An Internet site says it's about 82 per month. Ken Sievert says during the summer, two or three planes arrive or leave on an average day (that would be 60 to 90 per month). In the winter, things are much slower. Right now there is a construction manager from McCall who is flying in and out every day, as he is building a house in the area. The Forest Service uses the airport from mid June through mid September for fire fighting aircraft. Most of that traffic is helicopters that drop water. Fixed wing aircraft use the facilities a couple times a summer. So far this summer, the Forest Service has used the airport for about half a dozen days. During an average fire season, they will use it for 10 to 15 days. At the moment there are nine aircraft tucked away in the hangars at the airport. Two of those are ultralights. When Life Flight comes to Council, they like to use the airport as a landing spot as often as they can because the area is clear of obstacles and set up for aircraft. EMT John D!ckenson estimates Life Flight uses the Council airport around 20 to 25 times in an average year. Conditions have declined Right now the airport is considered unsafe because the markings are gone. Also, the runway surface is due for reSealing and has cracks that need to be repaired. The FAA has funding to help with such necessities, but the timing and financial situation for the city was not conducive to getting the work done this year. Estimates for the Matching funds that Council would need to come up with recently was thought to be about $16,000 -- an amount the city would be hard- pressed to come up witl~ right now. (In-kind services could also be counted as matching.) But the town has received approval to put the project off until next summer, which will give the City Council time to plan for acquiring matching funds. At the last City Council meeting, the council said that the reason the airport runs out of fuel is because the airport tank holds 2,500 gallons, and that is only a partial load for a fuel delivery truck. The city has to arrange for load of fuel that it can share with another buyer, and that is not always possible. In the first article of this series, it was mentioned that a tax on airline tickets funds the Aviation Trust Fund, which finances airport facilities. Dick Thompson has pointed out that, in addition to that tax, money comes into that fund from aviation fuel taxes, plus the state also contributes a small amount. Thompson has served (without compensation) as chairman of the airport commission, and defacto airport manager since 2000. Among other things, he maintains the runway lighting system, the rotating beacon, the tie-downs, posts NOTAMS with Flight Service concerning airport conditions, and replaces windsocks when necessary. Of course finding the money to pay for airport upkeep and improvements is usually a factor. Simple improvements could make a big difference One problem that incoming pilots encounter is the lack of signs or any information at the airport about town resources such as hotels, restaurants, shopping or recreation. There isn't even a map or direction sign to town. How much are area businesses missing out on potential customers because they don't know where to go? How much is the area missing out on potential investors because they don't see opportunities to be involved? Pilots and their passengers sometimes stop at the Council airport to eat lunch. A picnic table with a shelter over. it would be a welcome improvement. Bigger airports have rental cars, and our airport used to have one available. Short of this kind of expense, even a couple bicycles made available might induce a pilot or two to visit our town. Fun airport events, such as antique plane and ultra-light fly-ins, could enhance recreation and tourism None of these improvements cost much, but they go a long way toward saying, "Hey, this is a good place here, and we're glad to see you." Isn't that Who we are? "Everyone I've interviewed for Community Spotlights agrees that Council needs new business enterprises for survival and to provide continuing employment," said Deb Wilson. "How can we encourage these businesses to come here if we look like a town that doesn't care?" Past experience indicates that the airport can be successful. When Clint Yates was the Fixed Base Operator (FBO), his time and effort paid off, and the airport made a profit. The question arises as to whether another FBO could be found - maybe someone with experience who would like to semi-retire to a small rural airport, The Council Chamber of Commerce has expressed interest in helping to improving the airport. Other civic groups might well join in if specific goals are outlined. The perpetual question in such cases is, "Can we afford it?" Another way to look at it is, "Can we afford to under-utilize an asset that we already have?" Or, "Would a relatively small investment yield a return that would improve our community in these challenging times?" FROM THE IDAHO DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY Most areas in southwest Idaho are experiencing air quality in the "unhealthy for sensitive groups" category because of all the wildfires. People exposed to smoke may experience symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. Older adults, infants, children and people with medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary THOMASON FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY Family C~vned and Operated - Burial Services - Pre-planning Options - C mation Services - Monuments 221 E. Court St Weiser, ID 83672 (2O8) 414-1234 w~r~ . Lienkaemper-Thoma~onoeo m Special business services aeailable at The Adams CennQ gecerd B&W Copies $.15 each Send and receive faxes $1.00 per page Design Services Low Volume Scanning Assist with e-mail File uploads and downloads Call fer de/ails and inf rmafl n! disease, and congestive heart disease are more affected. Tho:se who use inhalers for asthma or other conditions should keep them close at hand. People are advised to seek medical treatment for uncontrolled coughing, wheezing, choking, or if breathing difficulty continues once they are indoors. IDHW provides these tips for people to reduce their exposure to smoke and protect their health: Limit outdoor activity, especially for older adults, small children, and those with respiratory or heart e smo disease. If the weather is warm, run your air conditioner to re-circulate air. Turn the fan blower on manually so it continuously filters the air in your home. Wash or change filters on air conditioners and/or furnaces frequently. Use high efficiency filters when possible. For homes without a central heating and/ or cooling system, use portable air purifiers to remove particles (air purifiers that utilize HEPA filters are best, avoid using air purifiers that produce ozone). exposure Do not run or engage in heavy work or exercise when the air quality index reaches 'unhealthy' levels. Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Remaining hydrated helps dilute phlegm in the respiratory tract making it-easier to cough smoke particles out. Plan on coughing, it is nature's way of clearing your lungs. Avoid caffeine products, sugary drinks and alcohol as they have a dehydrating effect. If you wear contact lenses, switch to eyeglasses in a smoky environment. Daily updates on air quality conditions at various locations in Idaho are available on DEQ'S Air Quality Reports and Forecasts webpage. For areas where air quality monitors are not available, the Visibility Range and AQI Table can help determine the necessary precautions to take. For more information on how to protect against wildfire smoke, read the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wildfires Factsheet. Information on the fires in your area is available on www.inciweb.org. In Adams, Valley, and Washington Counties $40.00 per year Out of local counties $45.00 per year Out of state $50.00 per year CALl. OR STOP BY TODAY! - 108 IllinoisAvenue, Council 208-253-6961