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LETTER: Why waste money on new helipad?

To The Telegram, The Eau Claire Lakes Airport is located on County Highway 'N' east of Wisconsin 27 in the Town of Barnes. This airport has been in operation since 1948 and was reconstructed in 1962. During this time, there have been thousands of...

To The Telegram,

The Eau Claire Lakes Airport is located on County Highway 'N' east of Wisconsin 27 in the Town of Barnes. This airport has been in operation since 1948 and was reconstructed in 1962. During this time, there have been thousands of aircraft coming in at all times of the day and night. Among these aircraft are private airplanes, MU-2 Jets, Wisconsin DNR airplanes and the Civil Air Patrol. There are also helicopters that come in, such as chemical helicopters that are spraying the paper company's land, medical helicopters coming in to pick up patients to transfer them to hospitals and U.S. Army helicopters. This airport is fenced in and secure. There has been no problem with these aircraft landing at this airport.

For the past couple of years, the medical helicopters that are coming in to pick up patients have been told to land on the blacktop on the west side of the town garage by the Ambulance and Fire Department. The town garage is 900 feet away from the airport. At this site, there are power wires on the south side, trees on the south side and west side, and above ground fuel tanks on the north side. Some pilots of these helicopters have repeatedly wanted to go to the airport due to the small place to land at this site. However, the person in charge on the ground to land the helicopter has said "No, we are landing here.'

The Town of Barnes chairman, Richard Collyard, has indicated that if any EMT or fireman orders the helicopter to go to the airport, they would be reprimanded. It seems that the chairman has no concern over the safety of the emergency medical workers or the personnel on the helicopter.

Now the five member town board has decided to put in their own landing site about a mile to the east from the airport. This is just another way for our wonderful town board to waste some more money. One board member said that a resident of Barnes reported that the helicopter woke them up. This is not a very good reason to endanger EMS personnel and helicopter personal, to move the landing zone from a FAA approved airport to a dangerous area. Due to the fact that Collyard does not want to land the helicopter at the airport, where there are no wires and where there would be no need to block off the road for a helicopter, he must have some personal vendetta against the manager of the airport.

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The members of the board are backing Collyard for some reason. Why waste money to build a helipad when there is already a perfectly good airport right here? The safety of all personnel in and around the helicopter is obviously not taken into consideration.

-- Jerry Friermood,

Barnes

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