Along Florida's panhandle, just a short drive from the Gulf of Mexico, sits the small city of Valparaiso. Its residents, most of whom have served in some capacity, first elected Bruce Arnold mayor almost exactly 50 years ago. He's been paid a dollar a year to hold the job ever since, but never imagined engaging the U.S. Air Force's newest -- possibly trillion dollar -- fighter jet project.
"That's what we thrive on here, the basic industry in the Valparaiso, Niceville area is Eglin Air Force Base," Arnold said. "Everybody was elated until we got the EIS."
That's because the EIS -- or Environmental Impact Statement -- drafted by the Air Force indicates the F-35 is significantly louder than its predecessor, the F-16. County level government backed the planes. Arnold and the city filed suit twice requesting more information and a more open dialogue with the Air Force. They don't want the jets to leave, but they want the Air Force to take whatever steps they can to mitigate the noise.
"Basically our stand was that the Air Force conduct most of their flight training at field 3 which is about 10 miles north of us, sort of out in the boondocks," Arnold said.
"To me, it's the sound of freedom," said Fred Corrender, a Valparaiso resident. Corrender served in the Air Force for more than 30 years. He's retired and lives under the flight path in one of the city's noisiest areas. "After, you know so long, you get acclimated to it and it don't really bother you that much," he said. "The F-35 is a little noisier than the F-16, but like I said, still don't bother me, we just carry on with our daily lives."
Corrender's neighbors called the jet annoying, and one complained of falling property value.
Mayor Arnold said two-thirds of the city's housing doesn't meet federal noise standards and that the military could still add planes and flights. "So therefore we haven't experienced the noise... The full effect by any stretch of the imagination," he said.
However, he said his -- and the city's position -- is in a holding pattern at the moment while they wait for a revised report on the plane due out in January.
Air Force officials said most of the complaints they've received regarding noise from the F-35 have come from a handful of people. They also contend that three quarters of the leveled complaints come during hours when the plane isn't in use. The Air Force had expected to make a decision whether to base the F-35 in Burlington by the end of this month.
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:19 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:19:01 GMT
Jazz fingers, dance moves -- and plenty of passion. The Urban Reach Dance Convention is giving aspiring dancers the chance to learn from some of the music industry's most acclaimed teachers, who have workedMore >>
Aspiring dancers hit the floor this weekend at the 8th annual Urban Reach Dance Convention.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:21 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:21:59 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.Members of the so-called Senate Climate Action Task Force -- nearly two dozen in allMore >>
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:19 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:19:22 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
Schumer is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would ban e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:14 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:14:28 GMT
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.The owner of the home on Pike Drive called for help a little after 9:30 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived theyMore >>
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:08:59 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
Sunday morning CCTA officials announced that after a marathon negotiation session they delivered a complete contract proposal to the union.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:52:05 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend. His office says the Governor was at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. He is expected toMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:10 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:10:31 GMT
ANNOUNCER: FROM VERMONT'S MOST TRUSTED SOURCE, WCAX BRINGS YOU YOUR NEWSMAKERS, YOUR NEIGHBORS, THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME". >> HELLO, WELCOME TO "YOU CAN QUOTE ME", I'M KYLE MIDURA, TODAY WE TALK ABOUTMore >>
Stephen Dale, the executive director of the Vermont School Boards Association joins Kyle Midura to discuss education in Vermont.More >>