At this time, approximately 100 of Raleigh-Durham International Airport's 400 daily flights have been canceled for today.
In anticipation of Hurricane Irene, some airlines at Raleigh-Durham International Airport have begun canceling flights. American Airlines and American Eagle have canceled all flights scheduled for Saturday, August 27. American Airlines will resume operations on Sunday at 10 a.m. Here's more information:
Maple View Ice Cream will feature a "Thank You ChancellorThorp sundae" this weekend to thank him for ending plans for an airport authority in Orange County
According to the grassroots group Orange County Voice, the sundae will be featured from Friday January 30 through Sunday February 1 in the Maple View Country Store on Dairyland Road and their Ice Cream store in Hampton Pointe. The sundae, designed by Chancellor Thorp's children, will feature Carolina Blue ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream with optional wet walnuts. The ice cream will be custom made for the occasion using Maple View's famous vanilla ice cream mixed with precisely tinted Carolina Blue food coloring provided by UNC.
"This is not the first and probably not the last time that special interests will attempt to site an airport in Orange County. We were delighted at how quickly the new chancellor acted and hope that this is a sign of good things to come from UNC," Chris and Bob Nutter of Maple View Farm said in a release. "We look forward to meeting him and exploring opportunities to work with UNC to promote awareness of our rural community."
For more information see www.mapleviewfarm.com
UNC System President Erskine Bowles says he “absolutely nothing to hide” and will let a group that organized against an airport in Orange County know if he meets with a pilots association.
In a story last week UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp announced he was asking the UNC Board of Governors to drop plans for an airport authority that was to seek a replacement for the university’s Horace Williams Airport. The Aircraft Pilots and Owners Association said it planned to meet with Bowles to discuss its continuing desire to see an airport in Orange County.
That got the attention of the grassroots group Airport Action. Spokesman Mark Marcoplos wrote Bowles asking that he let them know when "something is afoot with AOPA or other big players."
"History gives you the right to worry about transparency," Bowles wrote back.
"I am copying my assistant on this and asking her to please remind me to notify you if they ever request a meeting. ... But I have absolutely nothing to hide and no reason not to be transparent. Now back to the work of the 15 other campuses and problems associated with adequate funding in this terrible economy. Erskine"
UNC System President Erskine Bowles says he will let groups that organizied against an airport know when and if he meets with a pilots association in a few weeks.
In a story last week we reported that the Aircraft Pilots and Owners Association plans to meet with Bowles to discuss its continuing desire to see a new airport in Orange County when Horace Williams closes. The association sees airports as a critical piece of transportation infrastructure and generally wants to see more of them, not fewer.
That got the attention of Airport Action, which as best I can tell includes members from Orange County Voice and Preserve Rural Orange, the main groups that formed last year to keep an airport out of rural Orange County, particularly White Cross. Spokesman Mark Marcoplos, a former OWASA board chair and local green builder who lives there, wrote Bowles asking that his office let them know when "something is afoot with AOPA or other big players."
In refreshing candor, Bowles wrote back that he would. "History gives you the right to worry about transparency," he said, in one e-mail. Then when Marcoplos wrote back, Bowles responded with this:
"I am copying my assistant on this and asking her to please remind me to notify you if they ever request a meeting. Hopefully that way we won't forget. But I have absolutely nothing to hide and no reason not to be transparent. Now back to the work of the 15 other campuses and problems associated with adequate funding in this terrible economy. Erskine"
"We didn't do it with the intent of creating mistrust. I don't think anyone anticipated the reaction would be quite so strong." -- Roger Perry, chairman of the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees
I don't know if Orange County needs a new airport. I do know we made a difference in how much people knew about it as the story played out these past months.
A few weeks ago I wrote a column saying 2008 was a very bad year and that I hoped we would be here in 2009. Our work is important, I said. Today's announcement by Chancellor Holden Thorp that UNC was dropping plans for a new airport authority followed months of work by the staff of the News & Observer and Chapel Hill News to learn how the airport story had gotten this far.
We reported how UNC wrote the early language that became the basis for the airport bill. (Read here.)
We requested public records and reported how local businessmen helped pay for an economic report that was later used as a reason, among others, to pursue a new airport once Horace Williams closed. (Read here.)
We interviewed Chancellor Thorp on the need for a new airport and printed his responses unedited. (Read here.)
We went to White Cross and spoke to the people who would be affected by an airport going there. (Read here.)
Today's announcement would have happened regardless of local newspaper coverage. The university was not prepared for the hundreds of people who attended meetings, signed petitions, wrote letters to the editor and staked signs in their yards.
But we did provide information most of those people didn't have. The papers and this blog became a forum for discussion, pro and con, on the need for a new airport. We informed perspectives. We made a difference.
UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp announced this morning that the university will not pursue a new airport in Orange County.
This is a big deal for folks living in the rural southwest reaches of the county on land a 2005 report suggested was a good spot for a future airport.
And Thorp said Friday that his decision stemmed at least in part from the distrust created when the General Assembly last year gave the university the power to create an authority to plan, build and run an airport.
Here's the complete text of a statement Thorp read this morning:
I have decided to ask the UNC Board of Governors not to create an airport authority to identify a replacement site for Horace Williams Airport.
This has not been an easy decision...most of all because I made a pledge to our AHEC doctors. I had said that, short term, I was convinced that a MedAir move to RDU would be workable. But I also said that for the long-term, we owed it to our doctors to explore another alternative. At the time, I thought that an airport authority was the best approach. The county would have the zoning authority, and the siting and development of the airport would be in the hands of a public body that would operate transparently.
But increasingly, I have felt that the authority would be unable to accomplish what we had hoped. There is a great deal of distrust, not necessarily of the authority, but of the process by which it came to be. That distrust would likely extend to the authority when its members were appointed.
So with all that in mind, I started calling some AHEC doctors. Those I spoke with told me they understood our eventual need to move airport operations to RDU and that it's in the best interest of the university and our community not to form the authority.
I consulted with Speaker of the House Joe Hackney, and he agreed this is the right approach. And I talked with the chair of the county commissioners, the mayor, President Bowles and our trustees, and they all concur.
We will continue to move forward with Carolina North. It is critical to the future of the university and the state of North Carolina. While we will keep Horace Williams Airport open as long as we can, to realize the full potential of Carolina North, we must close the airport.
When that happens, we will still need an airport. It's essential for our AHEC program. But we have an acceptable option - RDU.
Whether Orange County wants and needs an airport should be widely and openly discussed. And the decision should be made by the county and its citizens.
Looks like UNC may be pulling its plans for a new airport in Orange County to replace Horace Williams Airport.
The university had said it needed a new airport in the county to serve its medical fleet once it closed HWA to make room for the Carolina North satellite campus.
Now comes word Chancellor Holden Thorp is holding an 11 a.m. press conference to announce UNC will not be forming a state-approved airport authority to begin the search for possible sites. Read staff writer Jesse DeConto's story here and look for updates this afternoon at www.newsobserver.com
Carrboro Aldermen Dan Coleman and Randee Haven O'Donnell want a permanent seat for the town on the airport authority being formed to seek a replacement for UNC-Chapel Hill's Horace Williams Airport.
Read more here.
Some members of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen want a bigger say in the future airport authority that could site, build and operate a future airport in Orange County.
Legislation passed last summer authorizes a 15-member panel. Eight members will come from UNC and the UNC Health Care System. One will get picked by the state House leader, one by the state Senate leader, three by the Orange County Board of Commissioners, one by the Chapel Hill Town Council and one by the Board of Aldermen and the Hillsborough Town Board on a rotating basis.
Alderman Dan Coleman says that doesn't make sense. "For some unknown (to me) reason, the legislature gave the permanent municipal seat to "the largest municipality" rather than to those most proximate to the potential sites," he writes in an e-mail to Mayor mark Chilton. "This seems short-sighted given that any airport will have the greatest impact on those municipalities to which it is closest, namely, Carrboro or Hillsborough."
Coleman proposes asking Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens to join Carrboro in asking that instead of sharing a seat on a rotating basis, the towns each get a permanent seat on the board.
Alderman Randee Haven-O'Donnell agrees. "The airport authority's up-coming decision making is of critical concern to our area and citizens would deeply appreciate a permanent voice," she writes in another e-mail.