Jackson County News

May 28, 2008

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Airport’s users concerned about safety
By Brandon Reed
The Jackson County Aviation Authority, a group of 30 to 40 airport users, drafted a letter to the Airport Authority on May 13 addressing concerns the group has about the facility.
Among the issues they are concerned with is the dirt pile at the end of runway 16, as well as the automatic weather observation system. Another item that was brought up was safety at the airport.
The letter stated: “According to many association members, safety is not much of a concern at the Jackson County Airport. We believe safety is paramount and request authority action on the following matters.”
Airport manager Bob Stapleton was adamant that safety is a top priority at the airport.
“I take umbrage and extreme concern with that statement,” he said. “I do not think it’s a fair comment. I think it sheds less than a favorable light on the airport and the airport authority. I am the airport manager. Airport safety is my responsibility. I have initiated a number of safety programs and corrective actions since I’ve been here. I continue to be, and I always will be concerned about safety at the airport.
“It is less than credible, in my opinion, for the people who signed this document to say safety is not much of a concern at Jackson County Airport,” he said.
Authority member Don Lohmeier told Stapleton that it was his understanding that the intent of the letter was not so much to find fault, but to voice concerns.
“I don’t regard that…as a threat or condemnation,” he said.
Stapleton said the issues that were brought up were some long standing issues that had come up under former authority members and airport managers, and that it will take time to get everything put right.
“We’re doing all that we can with the money we’ve got and with what we have to make the airport as safe as we possibly can make it,” he said.
Stapleton said the authority would go over the letter and put together a response to the issues that were raised.


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